Guest ncolumn - Investment is on the right track

All aboard at Newtongrange station
All aboard at Newtongrange station

It’s hard to believe it has been six months since the opening of the Borders Railway, the most ambitious engineering project of its kind in a century, writes Provost Joe Wallace.

I look back with great pride and enjoyment on the opening weekend last September and the visit of Her Majesty. However, my real focus is on Midlothian’s future and the opportunities the railway will bring to increase economic prosperity locally.

Working with our partner agencies, Midlothian Council is making sure the railway brings more jobs, more homes, more businesses, more tourism and better leisure opportunities.

We’ve already welcomed the first business to relocate to the area. Independent telephone and broadband company, TenTel, recently moved to Shawfair, creating around 40 new jobs and counting.

A £1 million Borders Railway Investment Fund is soon to be launched by Scottish Enterprise to support business development opportunities arising from the railway. Meanwhile, the council has appointed a business adviser to help attract inward investment.

At Shawfair, the new station is set to be an invaluable addition to the local community, linking the development and surrounding communities to Edinburgh and the Borders. With various parts of the site infrastructure underway and the first homes expected to be available later this year, it is exciting to see the beginnings of the new community springing up.

Key achievements since the opening in September have been the launch in December of a new website, which has a wealth of information for inward investors as well as an interactive map of more than 100 sites along the railway corridor.

It is estimated more than one million people will travel on the line in its first year. I’m one of those delighted passengers. If you’ve not been on it yet, I can’t recommend it enough. The railway is already changing lives.