Restoration firm on the brink over bridge work

The firm's Eddy Charlton and Kevin Barlas. Picture: Neil Hanna
The firm's Eddy Charlton and Kevin Barlas. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A NICHE property restoration company is fighting to survive after takings plummeted following the start of works on a neighbouring rail bridge.

Holyrood Architectural Salvage, which specialises in hard-to-find home furnishings, has seen weekly sales drop from £15,000 to just £600 – a fall of 96 per cent.

A major project which will see the overhead rail crossing at Duddingston Road demolished and replaced got under way last month.

Since then, motorists travelling to Craigmillar and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are being diverted along Niddrie Mains Road, Duddingston Park South and Milton Road West.

The detours are due to end next month, but Margaret Falconer, the managing director of Holyrood Architectural 
Salvage, fears her business won’t survive that long.

“We should be doing about £15,000 a week to keep us going with the staff and everything we’ve got here – this week, we’re at £600,” she said.

“We should be fully booked right up until Christmas, but we’ve got fitters with no work.

“We’ve already had to tell two that the work’s dried up, and there’s nothing here. If it carries on, we won’t have a business at all.”

Office manager Eddy Charlton said the timing couldn’t be worse, with the firm usually busy heading into the winter.

“Business has taken a remarkable nosedive,” he said. “This is meant to be our busy time, but I think we’ve sold more fireplaces this summer than we have this autumn. We’d just been preparing everything for the busy season and everything was set up, which we’d spent quite a lot of time and money on, but everything’s just been dead.”

Network Rail said signage warning of the diversion clearly stated that businesses were still open. But John Fayrer, chairman of Northfield Community Council, said there had been fears prior to the start of the works that firms could suffer.

“People aren’t actually passing it now as a result of the works, so I’m not surprised that business is being affected,” he said.

Other businesses in the area said that footfall had “definitely gone down on the street”.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We did have a business at the start of September complain about the fact that the road closure signage in place may not be clear, and so we amended those signs to say that businesses were open as usual.

“With regards to the actual works, the building of the bridge turned out to be more complex than expected, and so the work timetable was extended from the end of October until around November 11.

“We apologise for those delays, but our engineers will certainly carry out and complete those works as quickly as they feasibly can.”