Slow pace on plans for Newburgh rail link – MSP raises concerns at Holyrood

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Concerns have been raised in the Scottish Parliament over the time taken to process plans for a train station in Newburgh.

Willie Rennie, MSP for north-east Fife, said it was a “low cost, high impact” project which had overwhelming backing in the community - but the time being taken to get it moving was causing frustration.

Speaking in the member’s business debate on stations north of the central belt, the Lib Dem politician said: “I want to make the powerful case that has been developed by the campaign in Newburgh. It’s got huge local support. They’re united, young and old are really motivated by this campaign - and it’s gathered support from neighbouring communities as well, like Abernethy.

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“The low cost, high impact is very clear in this case. It would mean a 12-minute journey to Ladybank or to Perth. The railway runs right through the burgh and they are proposing a modular station, which would be relatively low-cost, and it’s a part of Fife that’s quite cut off from other parts.”

The case for a station in Newburgh was described as "low cost, high impact" (Pic: John Devlin)The case for a station in Newburgh was described as "low cost, high impact" (Pic: John Devlin)
The case for a station in Newburgh was described as "low cost, high impact" (Pic: John Devlin)

He later raised concerns about the slow pace of the Scottish Government’s process:

“The process is incredibly slow, especially for this low-cost process,” he said. “The budget that SEStran has set aside for this has already been blown apart because of the extra requirements that’s been placed upon them by Transport Scotland.

“They first submitted their STAG in June 2022. It took six months for comments to come back from the government. They resubmitted their proposals and it took another six months for comments to come back and we’re going on and on.

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“So I hope the minister would perhaps reflect on the fact that there seems to be a disproportionate time and cost involved for schemes that are actually relatively low-cost, but again, quite high-impact.”

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