MSP highlights ‘critical’ need to upgrade A7

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HAWICK MSP John Lamont believes a failure to invest in the main A7 could lead to further economic misery for the town.

The Tory politician has called on the new Scottish Government to be elected in May to make the road a number one priority – or risk further job losses.

Mr Lamont revealed this week he has been “inundated” with complaints and concerns from both residents and businesses about the desperate need for improvement.

And he said the work should not be shelved as a result of the impending return of the railway. He told the Hawick News: “When I speak to local employers and businesses which are looking at Hawick and the Borders as a possible place to do business, they tell me that the lack of a good road is one of the major drawbacks for them moving to the area.

“Whilst the railway to Galashiels might help commuters in the central Borders, it will do very little to help the people of Hawick and local businesses.

“As I have said many times before, we need an integrated transport network across every part of the Borders. The railway to Galashiels cannot be allowed to suck resources away from other transport projects like the roads and bus network.

“Businesses need to be able to transport their goods quickly and easily around the country. Having a good road linking into the major road network is clearly critical to that. The railway might have helped but it will only come as far as Gala and it will have no freight capacity.”

Mr Lamont added: “If I had the choice and the money could be found, I believe that there is now an extremely strong case for major investment in the A7 so Hawick can get connected and we can attract new jobs.

“An upgraded A7 would provide a direct link from Carlisle to Edinburgh with Hawick being a key hub on that route.

“The opportunities for Hawick could be huge.”