A75 campaigners lobby roads chief
Transport boss has ‘open mind but no blank cheque’
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