THE grieving parents of an Edinburgh man killed in a road collision have blasted a “disgusting” council demand that they remove a shrine to him over fears it could cause another smash.
Edna and Forbes Mackenzie received the demand from police while on holiday in India – only months after their son Mark, 26, was killed when his motorbike collided with a tractor on a country road.
The family put up a stone shrine next to the accident site, which included a plaque and candle.
But after complaints from locals, council officials decided Mark’s parents would have to remove the shrine – or it would be taken away for them.
Mark’s stunned mother, Edna, said: “The council have told us to get rid of Mark’s shrine. It wasn’t doing anyone any harm.”
The tragic smash happened in June on the Biggar to Carnwath B road in South Lanarkshire – a notorious accident blackspot.
Friends today said the family would not comment on the council’s demand until Mark’s parents had returned from holiday. But family members have taken to Facebook to express their rage.
Mark’s brother, Craig, wrote: “Whatever ‘upstanding’, ignorant, busybodies have complained you should have a moral transplant and seriously think about what you have complained about and the grief you have caused.”
A manager at his mother’s Leith-based bed and breakfast, Mr Mackenzie was also a popular fundraiser and gathered £6000 for the Capital’s Citadel youth centre.
Citadel manager Willy Barr said he was saddened by the news the family had been asked to remove their shrine.
He said: “I’m aware of how much effort and thought the family had put into laying down the stone where Mark was killed and I’m really sad and disappointed to hear that there has been a request to move it.
“I cannot for a moment see the family putting something down that was dangerous.”
South Lanarkshire council officials today defended the action and said it was a legitimate response to safety fears raised by residents and drivers.
Ward councillor Hamish Stewart, Conservative member for Clydesdale East, said: “Many people have expressed concern to me about the road safety aspect of this and I can confirm that the shrine is a very prominent feature on a dangerous bend. Mr Mackenzie’s death was far from being the first fatality on that road and it’s not the only one this year.”
Council officials in Edinburgh said families would always be consulted over removal of a shrine that was considered a possible safety risk. But a council spokeswoman added: “As long as a roadside tribute is not causing an obstruction or distraction to road users, it will be left in place.”
LASTING TRIBUTE OR ROADSIDE MENACE?
THEY have become a feature on roads up and down the country, a way of providing a lasting memorial to traffic accident victims.
But roadside shrines have come under attack in recent years for creating distractions and obstacles which could put motorists’ lives at risk.
Some councils are considering imposing a time limit on impromptu tributes, while others may introduce an outright ban.Last year, Knowsley council in Merseyside sparked controversy when it said it would look at prohibiting roadside memorials.
“In some cases the tributes can present a hazard to passing motorists.
“It is hoped that restricting tributes on such routes will help prevent further unnecessary tragedies,” said a council spokesman.