Today the First Minister agreed with Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton that it is important that local people’s point of view is taken into consideration, in sweeping road changes that will affect 3,500 homes, and she urged Edinburgh Council to do just that.
Edinburgh City Council have rushed through a process of changes to roads and traffic flow with money from Scottish Government to improve public spaces for social distancing. In East Craigs, Craigmount and North Gyle the Council are using Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders to get sweeping changes through without any consultation.
The scheme is meant to reduce car journeys and pollution but local residents have confirmed it will lengthen many necessary car journeys and put more strain on arterial routes.
And the local community around East Craigs and Craigmount have certainly voiced their objections loudly. More than two and half thousand people have signed a petition (see notes). Moreover, after Mr Cole-Hamilton invited the Council’s transport convener, to a socially distanced public meeting, over a thousand people came to hear what she had to say. Police Scotland assisted with the meeting and social distancing was maintained throughout.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
“City of Edinburgh Council is about to use Government Spaces For People money to impose sweeping changes on the communities of East Craigs and Craigmount in my constituency. These changes are largely unrelated to social distancing and will affect three and a half thousand homes. They have avoided any meaningful consultation through the use of Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders, despite stating openly that they will likely become permanent. There is no good reason to rush this through without taking into account the views of those affected.
“I passionately want to reduce unnecessary car use but this is going to have the reverse effect. Nor is this the spirit in which the traffic orders were intended. These were designed for emergency use to help achieve social distancing during the pandemic. No one is even pretending this is to do with that.
“This is a misuse of public funds which are intended to enable social distancing in the community. The council need to stop ignoring the growing objections locally, and ask people what they think. I’m grateful to the First Minister for signalling her view that the council should not proceed with these plans without a full consultation of local people.”