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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Protesters set sights on Holyrood
Holyrood chamber
Campaigners against the Waverley line will seek election
An alliance of Borders land and heritage campaigners is to seek election to the Scottish Parliament.

Groups opposing the Waverley Line reopening, major housing developments and wind farms will fight for at least one seat as the Borders Party.

The alliance has already announced its intention to stand in a number of wards in local council elections.

Spokesman Nicholas Watson said the party would stand up for what it felt was right for the Scottish Borders.

He said that although people were upset when the Waverley line was closed what was being proposed was bad for the area and came at "colossal expense".

"Of course it's important to have good transport links but the railway would take over an hour to go from Galashiels to Edinburgh," said Mr Watson.

"But worse than that, it only serves a tiny, tiny part of the Borders.

"All Borderers will be expected to pay for this."

Having the Borders preserved in aspic, which some people are calling for, is not the solution
Jeremy Purvis MSP

Mr Watson also voiced his concerns over plans to build more houses in the area in a bid to maximise potential revenues for the railway.

"What I think people find most galling is when not only MSPs but also our local council keep portraying the Borders as some derelict backwater that needs to hang on to Edinburgh's coat tails.

"Nothing could be further from the truth."

The future Holyrood candidate, who has not yet been named, is expected to fight the Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale seat.

That is currently occupied by Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis.

'Essential link'

"Having the Borders preserved in aspic, which some people are calling for, is not the solution," he said.

"We are a growing population but in many cases it's elderly people.

"Without proper development, which is sensitive to what makes the Borders fantastic, it would be far more of a dormitory."

SNP South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame added: "For the past seven years I've campaigned for the Borders railway line.

"It's an essential economic and social link, taking the Borders back into Scotland."

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