COMMUNITY groups from south-east Edinburgh and Midlothian have welcomed the prospect of a tram line to Dalkeith, but labelled the proposed route as a “pie in the sky” project.
Representatives of the Craigmillar and Dalkeith community councils said they would support having a link running past the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and out towards Sheriffhall.
The provisional backing came after the Evening News revealed yesterday that city council officials were planning the Capital’s future growth by setting aside a “safeguard” of land for the south-east spur.
The contentious move has been made ahead of the council having the city’s streets clear of all tram-related works by September in what would be a major milestone for the £776 million project.
The existing tram route from Edinburgh Airport to York Place is scheduled to open in the summer next year.
Craigmillar Community Council secretary Terry Tweed said he was happy the tram extension was part of future planning. He said: “Part of Greendykes Road has been set aside for it. They have made that nice and wide to accommodate the tram.
“They have made a mistake sending the tram line out to the west first. You have a major hospital up here and no decent link to it. A tram to there would have been obvious from the city centre.
“We’re definitely for it. With the money we’ve already spent, it made no sense not to expand it.”
Neil Hynd, former chairman of Dalkeith Community Council, said: “If the tram line’s going to come to Dalkeith, it’ll be a good thing because it’ll get rid of some of buses off the road.”
Dalkeith ward councillor Alex Bennett said he would welcome the trams being extended to the Midlothian town, but questioned whether the move was practical.
He said: “I could understand them going to the park and ride, about a mile-and-a-half past the new Royal Infirmary, as the first step. But unless you had some grade separation or flyover at Sheriffhall Roundabout you couldn’t put trams through. For the time being, it’s pie in the sky.”
Others took to social media to slam the proposal.
Yvonne Bruce said on Facebook: “God help Dalkeith.”
Lee-Anne Munro said: “They can’t even stick to the original plan of having the trams go down Leith. Total joke!”
Eskbank station, being built as part of the Borders Railway project from Waverley to Galashiels, will be located near Dalkeith town centre.
Marie Glen, of Danderhall Miners Club, said: “There’s a lot of disruption at the moment anyway because they’re building the new railway, but in the longer term this could help encourage people to come into Danderhall.”