Controversial road revamp having detrimental impact on Edinburgh businesses

Morningside businesses have expressed concerns as the Spaces for People social distancing measures limit parking and reduce trade.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 4:40 pm
Word of Mouth Cafe, Morningside

Introduced as a social distancing measure, the Spaces for People scheme is causing concern amongst local Morningside businesses who rely on having parking readily available for their customers to continue trading.

In Morningside the measures have included widening the pavements with cones or temporary traffic bollards in areas where pavement queuing and pedestrian congestion is common and the addition of cycle lanes with markings along the road. Gaps to give way for deliveries and collections from local businesses have also been included.

Jimmy Rama, Director of Word of Mouth Cafe in Morningside said he has noticed a big difference in trade since the measures were introduced: He said: “The whole parking area is gone, and if people can’t get parked they just don’t come in to have something to eat or drink.

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Spaces for People scheme outside Word of Mouth Cafe in Morningside.

“Customers have to park elsewhere then walk here and when it’s cold and raining people just don’t come. It doesn’t make any sense for them so they just go somewhere else where they can get parked."

He added: “The measures on top of covid have really reduced businesses, it’s a struggle. In my opinion the pavement is big enough for people to safely walk on, but the government doesn’t think the same.”

Betul Gezer, Manager of Cafe Blush in Morningside said that she has noticed that lots of their more senior regulars haven’t been back into the cafe since the measures were introduced.

She said: “They would have had disabled badges and could just park right outside and literally just come in, but now that they can’t do that and they aren't able to walk a great deal

of distance and can no longer come in.”

Betul doesn’t think that the social distancing measures are doing any good, she said: “I’ve never seen anybody walk in the space provided, everyone still uses the existing pavement.”

She added: “It’s difficult times for everyone, but I think this is just making things a bit more difficult. These measures are just adding to all of the problems we are experiencing

anyway as a result of the pandemic.

She said: “Our trade isn’t great, but it’s the best of the worst I suppose.”

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We want to protect the public’s health while making it easy to spend time in local shopping streets as social

distancing requirements are in place.

“Throughout the implementation of these temporary measures we have engaged with both businesses and the public to find the best ways to encourage footfall at the same time as

facilitating safe walking, cycling and wheeling. Around 40% of people in Edinburgh do not have access to a car, and with public transport operating at a lower capacity, we simply

must provide safe, alternative ways to travel.”

Transport and Environment Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said: “We do understand that there is still some concern around changes and we are absolutely willing to speak

with local traders in order to understand these. As a council we want Edinburgh to flourish as we transition through and out of the Covid-19 and I believe that Spaces for People

plays a key part in that recovery.”

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