Local businesses question safety of latest Spaces for People plans

Businesses along Lanark, Longstone and Inglis Road have issued a letter detailing their concerns regarding the safety of the Spaces for People developments.

Spaces for People works
Spaces for People works

The letter is addressed to relevant members of the Edinburgh City Council, Spaces for People and the head of legal and risk monitoring office at the council.

Simon Says Dance, Lanark Road Nursery, Cranley Nursery, Monkey Drama, Currie Star Football and Club, Play2Learn have all co-signed the letter stating that they represent thousands of families who use their services in the area.

The letter says that although they are “appreciative” of the small concessions regarding additional parking spaces made by the council - concerns still remain over the overall safety of these plans.

Businesses also say that they feel the latest proposals to install cycle lanes and remove on street parking do not meet the needs of businesses in the area.

They said in the letter: “Given that we all serve vulnerable groups, children and young people, we are all acutely aware of the safety risks associated with the services we offer and as such, we mitigate those risks accordingly as responsible businesses and clubs. That being said, we rely on the council to ensure when there are considerable road changes set to impact the general public, that they are: adequately risk assessed; consider all vulnerable groups before implementation; and amended to minimise risk to the fullest extent. Sadly, this is where we feel Spaces for People, the council and the scheme design team have fallen dangerously short.

“For businesses/clubs like ours, many members need to travel to us by car for various reasons and we make it clear here that with these plans, they are set to penalise and discriminate against our members who cannot easily access us by bike or by walking. For example: those traveling with young children (including pregnant mothers), those with mobility issues and so on.

“The lack of on-street parking will also likely cause widespread upset to local residents as our members try to seek parking on already overly congested side-streets. We all rely heavily on the on-street parking currently available to survive and we feel that more could be done here with these plans to provide further parking across Lanark, Inglis Green and Longstone Roads.”

One of the main concerns for business was that the on street parking under the new plans will mean that those exiting their cars will have to exit into either vehicular or bike traffic - posing a risk to families with small children as well as those travelling.

The group have cast doubt on whether a full risk assessment was undertaken and have said they fear the new changes will lead to accidents and potential legal action for the council.

Transport and environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “In recognition of the different types of local businesses we are ensuring these designs are safe for all age groups and will continue to monitor their use once the scheme is implemented.

“The design of our temporary parking spaces takes account of the interaction between cyclists and people using the bays - similar features have recently been installed on Comiston Road with success.”

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