We’re in Edinburgh city region’s grip

In last week’s Southern, Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre tried to paint the Borders Party as inconsistent, saying we were opposed to the crematorium, which is now a success, and opposed to the railway, but now want it to go to Carlisle.

Just because a business is successful does not mean it’s in the right place, or that the road junction which serves it is safe. The way in which the council promoted one developer’s preferred site for his crematorium was shady to say the least.

As planning portfolio holder, Councillor Riddell-Carre gave away our strategic planning powers to the Edinburgh city region, without even asking the people of the Borders. This new layer of planning bureaucracy is slow, expensive and unaccountable, with an evident focus on Edinburgh. If you can get into the city region website you will now find that Galashiels through to Jedburgh is in the “Midlothian/Borders sub-regional area”.

As for the railway, the Borders Party has said from the start that the return of the real Waverley line – fast, freight-carrying and all the way to Carlisle – would be great, but what’s on offer is none of these.

Richard Branson looked at investing, but vanished when he heard it was only going to Tweedbank. We believe the railway is a total waste of public funds and will irreversibly change the way the Borders develops. Better to build our future prosperity on making best use of all the Borders’ special qualities.

Scottish Borders Council’s support for a suburban line to the “Midlothian/Borders sub-regional area” is reckless and out of touch. Let’s hope the next council has a healthier vision for the Borders.

Nicholas Watson

(leader, the Borders Party)