Concerns at lack of railway boost

The railway returned to Midlothian in September
The railway returned to Midlothian in September

The new chairman of Gorebridge Community Council has voiced his concerns about the lack of benefit to the local area from the Borders Railway.

Trevor Taylor first raised his fears in August that nothing had been done in the east of Midlothian to capitalise on the upcoming return of the railway to the county. He spoke of an east/west split in Midlothian, with all the businesses and jobs going to the west, highlighting companies in Loanhead and at Bush Estate.

And speaking at his group’s latest meeting, Mr Taylor reiterated his concerns.

He said: “There is quite a lot made about how Gorebridge is going to benefit from the railway.

“What are the council actually doing, are they doing anything new to try and get inward investment into Gorebridge and other areas here?

“All we can see is lots of houses going up but nothing else.

“I did say a while ago that all the work was getting done on the west side of Midlothian. There are three industrial estates in Loanhead. With international businesses making their business there.

“But nothing on the right hand side of the A7. Have we been forgotten about?

“I just feel there is nothing really getting done here.

“I don’t know why we are getting all the houses (700) at Redheugh. Why don’t they build an industrial estate there?

“There doesn’t seem to be any kind of joined up thinking on this. And there has to be something that encourages the businesses to come here. Some incentives.”

Gorebridge Community Council member Archie Pacey added: “There are millions and millions of pounds being spent on developing houses in and around Gorebridge. There is such a thing as developer contributions.

“Surely something could be creamed of the top of that to encourage economic development in the area.”

However, Labour councillor Jim Muirhead, also speaking at the meeting, said: “There are decent sized businesses here. And, the council have allocated at Redheugh for economic development.

“The reality is you can offer all the incentives you want, but unless it suits the business they won’t move here. Loanhead is by the bypass which suits businesses. ”

Opened on September 6, more than 125,000 journeys were made on the new Borders Railway during its first month in operation,

Before the £294 million line opened, forecasters predicted it would carry almost 650,000 passengers a year.