Monday July 18th 2022
I know many of my constituents in Midlothian have contacted me regarding the planned upgrade to Sheriffhall Roundabout. The upgrade is part of The Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal which commits up to £120 million to support improvements to the A720 City Bypass for the grade separation of Sheriffhall Roundabout.
I recently had the opportunity to question Transport Scotland as a member of the Public Audit Committee and to press for information for my constituents on the current status of these planned works. I understand that there is great deal of public anxiety that the development is being delayed and there is always a fear that the longer something is delayed, the more at risk it becomes.
The planned proposals have received over 2,700 objections which are all similar in nature regarding issues such as cycling routes and active travel. These objections have been responded to by Transport Scotland but some objectors still remain unsatisfied with the proposals.
During the committee meeting, Transport Scotland confirmed that they are anticipating that this will go to a public inquiry later this year and remain hopeful that a ministerial decision will be reached by Autumn 2023. Transport Scotland reported that the scheme will open in 2028 as long as there are no further delays.
I appreciate the frustration of my constituents who regularly face delays at Sheriffhall Roundabout. The planned works are greatly supported by the majority of my constituents, and I also support these works to help improve the current bottleneck situation many people face.
I believe the majority of the objections have come from outside my constituency and the immediate area of Sheriffhall. There has obviously been a large orchestrated campaign against this project, and I understand that some cycling organisations have also geared up a campaign against the proposed works.
We have put a huge emphasis on the environment, especially after COP26. However, the current proposals have been reviewed to see whether they needed to be changed to provide better facilities for active travel and public transport, and it was determined that the current design is the most appropriate. Transport Scotland further confirmed that there are extensive footway and cycleway facilities, which means that pedestrians and cyclists will not have to cross the roundabout physically.
From my perspective and the perspective of many of my constituents, the design ticks the boxes. Works are required and have been needed for many years – this is a longstanding issue that some are determined to prolong. I am disappointed that this will go to a public inquiry and hope the Reporter can deal with any issues as swiftly as possible.Tweet Share on Facebook