20mph signs removed in Edinburgh streets after complaints

Lesley Hinds launching the second phase of 20mph
Lesley Hinds launching the second phase of 20mph
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COUNCIL chiefs spent more than £300,000 installing 20mph sign poles across the city – and another £5500 taking some of them down again.

Eight poles were removed after complaints from residents in parts of the New Town and Stockbridge about signs for the new speed limit being put up in conservation areas where a “no clutter” policy had been agreed with the council.

Sixteen 20mph “roundels” were painted on road surfaces in the areas instead.

The information emerged from an answer by transport convener Lesley Hinds to Tory councillor Dominic Heslop at yesterday’s full council meeting.

She said that as part of the 20mph scheme, 566 existing poles had been removed in a bid to minimise street clutter and to date 382 new poles had been erected for 20mph signs.

The cost for erecting each pole was around £800, giving a total of about £305,600.

Cllr Hinds added: “Following feedback from residents, residents’ associations and local elected members, eight sign poles were removed and replaced with 16 roundels.”

The poles removed were one in India Street, one in Danube Street, two in Fettes Row, two in Royal Crescent and two in St Bernard’s Crescent/Carlton Street.

Cllr Heslop said: “Edinburgh taxpayers will be dismayed at the cost of putting up these 20mph signs and especially that £5500 was spent on removing them after complaints by residents’ associations.

“Why did the council not consult the residents’ associations before putting the signs up?”

Ian Mowat, chair of the New Town and Broughton community council, said it seemed the obvious step to discuss plans for new signs with residents’ groups in areas where there was an agreed “no clutter” approach.

He said: “It seems pretty silly to put up these signs in streets like that.

“The council should have consulted the residents before installing them instead of just coming along and sticking them up. That should be the norm for these sorts of thing.”

Cllr Hinds said the council had advertised in advance where the signs were going to go.

She said: “There are certain criteria about the placing of signs and if you don’t have them every so many hundred yards you won’t be able to prosecute.

“Only a few streets out of hundreds and hundreds came back and said they had a concern because they had worked with the council to get rid of street clutter.

“What we have done is respond to community groups and they have been thanking us for listening to them.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com