It seems like no time at all since Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the Borders Railway station at Newtongrange on September 9 last year, writes Midlothian Council chief executive Kenneth Lawrie.
Since then, more than a million passenger journeys have been made on the line.
Local communities and businesses are starting to see the benefits of the Borders Railway and we have huge ambitions for the railway corridor, more of which we will share in the months to come. That said, to realise these, capacity on the trains needs to increase and rolling stock needs to be refurbished to make sure more passengers can travel in comfort. We are confident that ScotRail and Transport Scotland are working to make this happen.
The first anniversary of the new railway comes at both a challenging and exciting time for Midlothian. Our area’s growing popularity as a place to live, work and visit has the potential to boost our economy, increase tourist numbers and encourage greater investment in business, transport and other infrastructure.
At Midlothian Council, we’re acutely aware of the major challenges confronting us in the coming years. As well as meeting an increasing demand for essential services from a growing population, government funding cuts will continue to have a major impact on how we deliver these.
Meeting these challenges means facing up to some tough choices. We need to transform the way we work, not only to meet our savings targets but to make sure our services are fit to meet future demands.
We will shortly be launching the next phase of the Shaping our Future consultation, which is focused on presenting you with a series of ‘choices for change’ and allowing you to have your say on the direction the council should take. The findings will help councillors take the key decisions that need to be made both in setting the council’s budget for next year, and in planning for service delivery in future years.
More details will appear over the next few weeks. You can find out more on the council’s website at www.midlothian.gov.uk/shapingourfuture