PLANS to build a wall between neighbouring communities in a bid to tackle antisocial behaviour and vandalism have been dropped after being branded a “crazy idea”.
Councillors heard from representatives from both Muirhouse and Silverknowes before taking the decision to scrap radical plans for a permanent divide to close off three access points between the two areas.
The idea was first proposed by the council’s own Forth and Almond neighbourhood partnerships after “marauding youths” caused “mayhem” in the area last October and November, smashing windows, scratching vehicles and attempting to break into properties.
Two members of the North Edinburgh Youth Forum delivered a ten-minute deputation to yesterday’s transport and environment committee in which they said: “We have questioned locals around the area and included people from both sides of the pathway.
“We also asked the question about closure of the pathway. Most people felt it would be divisive. It’s a crazy idea.”
Muirhouse Community Council chair Roy Douglas also spoke of how he felt his community had been unfairly painted throughout.
He said: “There were youths involved in the mayhem from Barnton, Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes, but all we’ve heard about is Muirhouse youths being at fault for the whole affair.
“I’m glad that sense has prevailed and this idea has been shelved.
“The incident happened over a year ago and as a result of increased policing since then there has been nothing of note.”
Claims were also made that the council had inflamed tensions by carrying out a survey last year in which residents were asked whether they were in favour of closing off the access – leading residents to consider an option which the council’s own inequalities policy would not even allow.
Rod Alexander, chair of the Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes Association, told the committee that the first he had known of the plan was when he was asked for his opinion by the council.
He said: “Silverknowes residents have not been the ones driving this proposal. This was a council survey managed by the neighbourhood partnerships of Forth and Almond with nothing about the implications or options.
“People are not feeling safe in their community – that is what needs to be resolved. There has to be solutions and something else on offer.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “The committee agreed with the officers’ recommendation that the access route should not be closed.
“This has been a difficult issue for the local community and we hope that the focus on reducing antisocial behaviour and developing diversionary activities for young people will continue to improve the situation.
“We would also hope that all members of the community will work together to find a resolution to the issues.”