Sheriffhall Roundabout delay leads to fears about the growing number of Midlothian housing developments

The upgrade of Sheriffhall Roundabout needs to go ahead to help cope with the growing number of local housing developments, two councillors have warned.

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 9:19 am
From left to right: Cllr Stephen Curran, Raymond Diamond, Alex Bennett, Eric Bunyan at Sheriffhall Roundabout.
From left to right: Cllr Stephen Curran, Raymond Diamond, Alex Bennett, Eric Bunyan at Sheriffhall Roundabout.

A review of the £120 million scheme, which includes a flyover to ease congestion, was ordered in February as part of the SNP’s budget deal with the Greens.

But now Midlothian councillor Stephen Curran, who represents Dalkeith and Danderhall, and East Lothian councillor Andrew Forrest, who represents Musselburgh, have written to MSPs asking them to help press Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to scrap the review and allow the project to proceed.

Their letter voices “growing concern” at the delays to the upgrade and argues the roundabout is a “key strategic transport improvement” which was approved as part of the £1 billion City Region Deal.

Sheriffhall Roundabout, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson

They wrote: “Sheriffhall not only serves commuters and local traffic, it also accommodates traffic from all over the UK as commercial artery for the South-East Region.

“This latest ‘hold’ and ‘review’ does nothing to support our climate change ambitions or to accelerate business growth in Scotland.

“Midlothian and East Lothian are also expected to meet Scottish Government housebuilding targets. We remain committed both in terms of delivering on those targets and to the development of new homes. We reasonably expect our commitment be reciprocated with support for a fit for purpose transport infrastructure to accommodate this rapid growth.”

The letter emphasises they are not pursuing this upgrade to increase capacity for car travel: “It’s about resolving the severe congestion, reducing air pollution, reducing accidents, injuries and journey times, improving traffic flow and improving accessibility for non-motorised users.”

And it concludes: “We ask that you support our constituents, commuters and businesses by publicly demanding that the ‘review’ be scrapped to allow for progress, and that you relay your support for the grade separation to Michael Matheson.”

The flyover is intended to separate local traffic from through traffic on the bypass and allow bypass traffic to flow freely, improving journey times for all road users.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We remain committed to undertaking improvements at Sheriffhall. The review into active travel and public transport is being run in parallel with, and informing, the preparation of responses to objections received as part of the statutory process.

“The review work is relevant and necessary in order to properly address objections received.

“Accordingly, there is no delay to the scheme as a consequence of the review and it forms part of our statutory responsibility to fully considering objections and representations received to the scheme.”