Council 'secrecy' over investigation into claims tram works cause of damage at Anchorfield

A request for a full report to councillors was 'shut down'.
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The council is facing claims of 'secrecy' over its investigation into whether tram works caused structural damage to a tenement which forced residents to move out. 

An evacuation of a block at Anchorfield in response to serious safety concerns last month saw those living in its 12 flats given just one hour to collect their things and leave. 

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Lindsay Road reopened to traffic two weeks after road closures were put in place in the area causing traffic 'chaos'.

Amid fears over the cause of the hairline crack which surveys confirmed compromised the Newhaven building’s “structural integrity”, some of the residents affected raised concerns about the new tram tracks laid across the road last year as part of the line’s extension through Leith. 

Local councillor Adam Nols-McVey said the project “may be a contributory cause” of damage to the Anchorfield tenement on Lindsay Road but said it “remains uncertain”. 

Following his comments the council was urged to investigate the claims. But Mr Nols-McVey claims his request for a detailed report to be submitted to councillors on potential causes of the damage was 'shut down'.

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He submitted a motion at full council meeting on Thursday requesting officials to detail the potential causes of damage to the building, including any communications with the Trams to Newhaven team “in order to identify if the construction of the tram line has resulted in the building becoming unstable”.

The SNP group leader said he was told to withdraw a comment that the damage could be caused by tram works over concerns about the council's 'insurance position'.

His tram works claim has been criticised by the council leader as 'fuelling speculation'.

Mr Nols-McVey told the Evening News: "My motion was to try and get answers for the residents and businesses affected. It isn't speculation to point out that we need to determine whether the damage caused was or wasn't related to tram works. But my ask for a full report to go before councillors detailing the potential causes of damage to the building was shut down. I'm not happy about this being reverted to the secrecy of closed room briefings. Councillors needs to be able to keep an eye on the situation. The residents and businesses deserve to know the truth."

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Mr McVey said he's concerned about a lack of transparency from the council on outstanding 'unresolved' complaints from residents about damage allegedly caused by tram works.

"In my motion I also asked for details of insurance cover of the tram project, all cases settled and all cases outstanding awaiting settlement of residents’ claims against the Council/Tram project for damage done to property. I know of several cases that have not had a satisfactory resolution and we are talking structural damage to homes, so it's substantial repairs costs. Now councillors won't receive a report with those details."

Council leader Cammy Day said: ‘It helps nobody to fuel speculation about a situation which has left residents without a bed to sleep in. I am pleased he promptly withdrew the remark when challenged, and we can all now focus on supporting the residents at Anchorfield’

‘The road is now open, and we are working closely with residents to gain access once its safe and secure’

A Council spokesperson said: “While there is still no evidence the trams are involved, investigations and monitoring is ongoing.”