Passing point anger at Gladhouse Reservoir road

A local bus operator has been left frustrated while on the school run by a farmer’s actions at a passing point next to Gladhouse Reservoir.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 6:34 am
PIC LISA FERGUSON 02/11/2020. Ann Hall, minibus driver for CT Minibuses and coaches, pictured at the passing place next to Gladhouse Reservoir.

Bonnyrigg-based CT Minibuses & Coaches owner Allan Flockhart is angry that Mauldslie Farm owner John Goffin has blocked off the passing place with bales of hay, and put a gate on the single track public road at the north east corner of the reservoir.

Despite contacting the police and the council in August no action has been taken, leaving Mr Flockhart concerned that one of his vehicles could be damaged or a driver injured, and he would be unable to claim on his insurance.

Mr Goffin defended his actions to ensure “the safety and security” of his farm.

PIC LISA FERGUSON 02/11/2020. Ann Hall, minibus driver for CT Minibuses and coaches, pictured at the passing place next to Gladhouse Reservoir.

Mr Flockhart told the Advertiser: “They have put a gate on a public road which is not right and it’s causing havoc.

“We have seen three cars in the ditch at the side of the road trying to turn and is causing havoc with the buses.

“We have contacted the council and police since August, but it seems that no one can do anything about it.

“It’s a public road only going to the farm, if my driver slips or scratches the bus trying to get past oncoming cars and vans because they can’t use the passing place, who is liable?

Ann Hall, minibus driver for CT Minibuses and coaches, pictured at the passing place next to Gladhouse Reservoir.

“If my driver slips opening a gate on a public road who do I claim against?

“The police and the travel team at the council are getting nowhere for some reason.

“It’s not a locked gate, but yesterday it filled up as there was a delivery van, car and one of our buses, so my driver had to tell the driver of the van to open the gate so he could get back and make space.

”One of my problems is that if the car can’t reverse there is a chance my bus can’t get past.

“The gate hasn’t got a catch to hold it open so if the wind blows the gate who will pay for the damage caused?

“The farmer is not interested. As he just says people have been dumping rubbish and parking there.”

John Goffin, from Mauldslie Farm, told the Advertiser that he took action because of ongoing road blockages, local farm break-ins, fly-tipping, vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

He said: “The police were consulted at the installation of the measures in March and were supportive due to the proliferation of incidents.

“We have explained to CT Minibuses why these measures have had to be taken.

“We will happily put a tie back on the gate to alleviate the risk of it swinging in the wind when opened.

“In reality this unfortunately appears to be an issue for one driver out of many who access the farm on a regular basis, as regrettable as that may be for the individual.

“In our view the benefits of this measure to the safety and security of the farm, its livestock and immediate environment and in helping to arrest the antisocial problems that have occurred in the area, far outweigh the inconvenience of opening one gate.”

Mr Goffin added that four signs had been erected on a 200m stretch of the road, and that he was “in dialogue with the council”.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report on August 21 of bales placed on the road near Gladhouse Reservoir in Midlothian.

“Suitable advice was offered to all parties involved and officers continue to liaise with Midlothian Council.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “We’ve been in contact with the farmer to ask for his co-operation by removing the gate and the obstruction to the passing place.”