Leadburn roundabout plan rejected

Michelle Ballantyne, Shona Haslam and David Mundell at the Leadburn junction.
Michelle Ballantyne, Shona Haslam and David Mundell at the Leadburn junction.

Calls for a roundabout at Leadburn Junction were rejected amid claims there is no evidence it is any worse than any other junction in the county.

SNP Councillor Joe Wallace went so far as to claim there had been no fatal accidents.

He said: There have been no tragic accidents at the Leadburn Junction itself.

“There have been deaths and I believe two out of three were suicides. One unfortunately took an innocent person along with them.”

His claim went unchallenged in the chamber as councillors debated a motion by Conservative councillor Andrew Hardie urging the council to work with neighbour Scottish Borders Council to put a roundabout at the junction. The motion came after the neighbouring local authority pledged to offer support in a bid to improve the junction.

Scottish Borders councillors backed a motion last month calling for action at the junction south of Penicuik linking the A701, A703 and A6094.

However, they were accused of ‘hypocrisy’ by Councillor Wallace. He said: “The hypocrisy of Borders Council shows no bounds here. We approached them four or five years ago asking them to collaborate with Midlothian Council to help with this junction and they refused to engage with us.

“For Borders Council to come along and say they can offer officer support is very kind but I think we have to say ‘no thank you unless you have some money behind you’.”

Councillor Hardie’s motion urged the local authority to take advantage of the neighbouring authority’s offer of help and look at the roundabout which he said had been agreed over a decade ago but stalled due to a lack of funds.

Cllr Hardie told councillors it would be “churlish” to reject the offer from Scottish Borders. He said: “It’s very important we work cross border.”

His motion called on councillors to engage with Scottish Borders Council officers, call for a paper on the cost of a roundabout and look for additional funding resources for it.

However, councillors voted against the motion by 12 to two, instead backing an amended version by Labour Councillor John Hackett which agreed to engage with Scottish Borders Council, but which took out the suggestion of a roundabout, replacing it with “possible solutions”.

The amended motion also called for a report outlining possible solutions to include the “professional opinion of officers as to the priority of this junction measured against other road safety issues in the county.”

Following the meeting Cllr Hardie said: “I’m disappointed that Labour and the SNP chose to defeat this motion. It would have been an important first step in trying to make the Leadburn Junction safer.

“Nonetheless, the Midlothian Conservatives will continue to promote road safety in Midlothian.”

And South of Scotland List MSP Michelle Ballantyne (Con) expressed surprise at the decision. She said: “Putting a roundabout at the Leadburn Junction has been an idea that’s been floated around for many years. It is disappointing that the motion which sought to make the junction safer has not passed.”