Midlothian Council leader sparks row after calling Edinburgh’s roads ‘atrocious’

Tuesday November 28th 2023

Old Dalkeith Road Edinburgh Midlothian Boundary

The Old Dalkeith Road on the Edinburgh side of boundary with Midlothian.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A council leader has sparked a political row after branding the state of Edinburgh’s roads ‘atrocious’.

Midlothian Council leader Kelly Parry said the difference on roads was noticeable when driving from the county into the city’s boundary lines as she asked officers to contact the capital’s council about the situation.

However City of Edinburgh Council’s transport convenor Councillor Scott Arthur hit back claiming Midlothian Council could ease the city’s congestion by improving its own public transport instead of complaining about their roads.

Councillor Parry was speaking at a meeting of the SNP-led council’s cabinet which had heard of the advances being made by their own road services in dealing with potholes.

The local authority invested in a JCB Pothole Pro machine, named The Tarminator following a public competition, which it was revealed fixed nearly 2,000 holes in its first six months of operation.

A report to cabinet heard The Tarminator’s work was equivalent to covering more than 2,000 square metres of road surface.

The news led to praise from councillors for the work of its roads teams in responding to potholes and other issues on the roads and path networks across the county.

And it saw Councillor Parry, SNP, who represents Midlothian West, take aim at Edinburgh’s own network.

She said: “I really notice the difference when I drive from Midlothian to East Lothian or Edinburgh, particularly Edinburgh.

“I don’t know if it is just because it is at the boundary of another council but I do wonder if we need to write to our colleagues in Edinburgh and just remind them of their responsibilities where we have shared road crossing borders, particularly my own ward where so much of it’s boundary backs on to Edinburgh’s roads which, quite frankly, are atrocious.”

In response Councillor Arthur, Labour, claimed his Midlothian neighbours received more cash than the Capital for its residents.

He said: “It appears that having solved all of Midlothian’s problems, Councillor Parry has spare time to offer other local authorities advice.

“Of course her party in Holyrood has ensured our capital is Scotland’s worst funded local authority, with Midlothian getting around 20% more per person.”

Councillor Arthur said Edinburgh Council regularly worked in partnership with Midlothian and other neighbouring councils and had invested in its own ‘pothole killer’ machine which has filled 7,000 square metres of potholes.

He said: “We’re currently carrying out resurfacing work on Burdiehouse Road and Straiton Road, including surfacing the Midlothian section of Straiton Road on behalf of Midlothian Council.

“I am always proud to welcome Midlothian residents to Edinburgh, many contribute to our economy and enjoy our rich culture.

“I know, however, that many want Cllr Parry’s administration to invest more in public transport. Perhaps that should be her priority? Indeed, this would have the added benefit of helping cut congestion in Edinburgh.”

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