Midlothian councillor's Sheriffhall anger after Transport Secretary snubs third meeting request

Councillor Stephen Curran has criticised Transport Secretary Michael Matheson after he refused for a third time to meet him to discuss Sheriffhall Roundabout.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:58 am
Sheriffhall Roundabout, City Bypass

Cllr Curran (Lab) has hit out at Transport Scotland’s recent announcement of a £100,000 investment to improve road safety at “Scotland’s most dangerous roundabout”, calling it “nothing but a sticking plaster on a gaping wound”.

He said: “Refurbishing the ‘Cat’s Eye’s’ may help a little, but not a lot. It does nothing to reduce journey times or pollution. It does nothing for cyclists. It does nothing to support access for pedestrians and non-motorised users.

“For the third time in 12 months, the Transport Minister has refused to meet with me to discuss the Sheriffhall upgrade.

"I can understand the first request being rejected last Spring, and maybe even the second request in autumn. But to refuse a third request shows a complete disregard for accountability. Our constituents are demanding answers.”

Cllr Curran is also critical of the length of time the Sheriffhall Roundabout redevelopment is taking.

He said: It’s now more than a decade since it was identified that Sheriffhall required a major overhaul.

“It really is a slap in the face when you consider Midlothian’s unwavering commitment to meet Scottish Government housebuilding targets. The Scottish Government are refusing to reciprocate that responsibility with investment for transport infrastructure to support the growth demands they place on us."

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We are duty bound to properly follow the correct statutory procedures which rightly include the opportunity for local communities to input and have any objections resolved.

“Following publication of draft Orders in December 2019 we received a significant amount of representations, including objections. These are currently being reviewed and considered and this process is being informed by the recent conclusion of a review into the active travel and public transport proposals.

"Accordingly, there is no delay to the scheme, this forms part of our statutory responsibility to fully considering objections and representations received to the scheme.”

The spokesperson added: “Should we be unsuccessful in removing all objections a public local inquiry may be required.

“Delivery of the scheme itself can only commence if it is approved under the relevant statutory procedures and thereafter a timetable for its progress can be set.”