Crocketford & Springholm Communities Demand Bypass Action, Not Bickering, Says MSP

Communities in Crocketford and Springholm want action when it comes to bypass plans and not more “bickering”, according to local MSP Colin Smyth.

The South Scotland MSP once again raised the fact that the Scottish Government has continually failed to announce a delivery plan for the second strategic transport projects review (STPR2) in the Scottish Parliament last week.

STPR2 proposed that both Crocketford and Springholm are bypassed, but no timetable has yet been published.

Speaking in the debating chamber, Colin Smyth asked Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop: “The transport review was published in December—years late—and we were told that there would be a delivery plan by spring. Communities in Crocketford and Springholm do not want to hear two Governments bickering over who is going to pay for the bypasses—they want to see them happen.

“Will the minister give an indication of when she will tell Parliament exactly when work will commence on those communities’ bypasses? They have been waiting years for an announcement from the Government.”

In January, Colin Smyth asked Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson to give MSPs an update about when the delivery plan would be published.

Michael Matheson said: “I can reassure the member that it had been our intention to publish the delivery plan alongside STPR2. However, the budgetary uncertainty that was created by the United Kingdom Government in the autumn of last year has delayed that whole process, which has meant that we have had to delay taking forward the delivery plan work.

“I assure that member that, as we undertake that work over the next couple of months, alongside our budget process, we will do so in a way that helps to give as much indication as possible of the timeframes for the various projects that are set out in the STPR2 plan for the next 20 years” stating “The plan will continue to be developed over the coming months, informed by the draft budget for the coming financial year, with the intention that it will be published in the spring.”

Speaking after the question session last week, Colin Smyth said: “STPR2 was years late in being published and communities in the south west are still waiting to hear exactly when the very limited planned projects to improve the A75 and A77 will be delivered, despite promise after promise by both the Scottish and UK Governments.

“Communities simply won’t believe they will get any respite until we see a meaningful timescale for when work on projects are going to be started. The fact the government keeps stalling raises fears they are either not serious about delivering improvements, or they are kicking those plans even further into the long grass.

“SPTR2 was a long awaited disappointment which proposed very little in the way of meaningful investment for the A75 and A77. However, the fact that years after this review was originally supposed to have reported, we still don’t have a timescale for schemes such as the Crocketford and Springholm bypasses really is unacceptable.