A75 cam­paign­ers lobby roads chief

Trans­port boss has ‘open mind but no blank cheque’

The Galloway News - - REGIONAL SUMMIT - Stu­art Gille­spie

Cam­paign­ers for a by­pass around Springholm and Crock­et­ford were locked out of a re­gional trans­port sum­mit on Mon­day.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Humza Yousaf and First Min­is­ter John Swin­ney at­tended the meet­ing, held in the Easter­brook Hall in Dum­fries, which was set up to help iden­tify trans­port chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the re­gion’s fu­ture.

Chris Wy­brew and Dorothy King have spear­headed a four-year cam­paign for a by­pass and headed to the hall in a bid to high­light their “vil­lage A75 tor­ment”.

They handed their own brief­ing pa­pers to those at­tend­ing the sum­mit and were re­warded for their pa­tience when Mr Yousaf made his way out­side to speak to them.

Chris said: “We were ready for the key play­ers to stu­diously ig­nore us as per usual.

“We feel very sorry about the fact we weren’t in­vited when other cam­paign­ers were but we’ll carry on be­cause it’s not about the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog.

“The is­sue of a by­pass for Springholm was first raised in the 60s yet we’re still here.

“We are ap­palled that the Scot­tish Govern­ment and its ex­ec­u­tive agen­cies con­tinue to dis­play no ev­i­dent con­cern for the fact that vil­lage res­i­dents are be­ing left in harm’s way to an ex­tent un­prece­dented on any com­pa­ra­ble res­i­den­tial street.

“So far, we have been failed by ev­ery branch of the Scot­tish Govern­ment but we be­lieve in hope be­cause we’ve had to have hope to sus­tain us dur­ing our fouryear cam­paign.”

Mr Yousaf made as­sur­ances that Trans­port Scot­land of­fi­cials will at­tend a meet­ing regarding a Springholm by­pass next month.

He said: “I know about the by­pass is­sues at Springholm and I went out­side to meet the cam­paign­ers.

“I will look at their sug­ges­tions with an open mind but I don’t have a blank cheque.”

Three pals who have set up a cam­paign call­ing for the A75 to be up­graded to dual car­riage­way were al­lowed a pri­vate meet­ing with Mr Yousaf.

Lewis Irving, Danny Pool and Adam Lit­tle launched a pe­ti­tion that more than 2,600 peo­ple signed and it has now been sub­mit­ted to the Pub­lic Pe­ti­tions Com­mit­tee at Holy­rood.

Danny said: “We told him why we think the A75 should be du­alled from Stran­raer to Dum­fries and he seemed very open minded.

“He told us there are fi­nan­cial bar­ri­ers, which we un­der­stand, but there have been at least two ac­ci­dents over the last two weeks, dan­ger­ous over­tak­ing is a f re­quent event and busi­nesses are suf­fer­ing left right and cen­tre across our re­gion.

At the sum­mit Mr Yousaf an­nounced a re­view of the Na­tional Trans­port Strat­egy (NTS) which will set out trans­port pol­icy across Scot­land for the next 20 years.

A draft re­port on the out­comes of the sum­mit will be pub­lished within four weeks to en­able pub­lic feed­back to con­trib­ute to the de­bate.

Mr Yousaf said: “We will look at how we im­prove road con­nec­tions in­clud­ing be­tween Dum­fries and the M74 with its links north and south and rail con­nec­tions too will be ex­am­ined to en­sure we strike the right bal­ance of trans­port in­vest­ments.”

Talks Humza Yousaf meets with A75 by­pass cam­paign­ers Christo­pher Wy­brew and Dorothy King out­side the Easter­brook Hall in Dum­fries

Trans­port fo­cus The top ta­ble at the meet­ing chaired by Deputy First Min­is­ter John Swin­ney

A75 cam­paign­ers Lewis Irving and Danny Pool at the sum­mit

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