Pedestrians fuming over Fountainbridge walkway delay

The temporary pavement closure at Fountainbridge forcing people to walk on the road. Picture: contributed
The temporary pavement closure at Fountainbridge forcing people to walk on the road. Picture: contributed
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FURIOUS residents in Fountainbridge have been assured a temporary walkway will be created around a large-scale building development in the area – more than three weeks after it was first agreed with construction bosses.

Property developers Interserve are leading the £12.3 million Edinburgh Printmakers’ project which will transform the former North British Rubber factory in the Fountainbridge area of the city into a new Centre of Excellence for Printmaking and Creative Industries Hub.

However the works – which begun in June – have drawn the ire of local residents who described the area as “an obstacle course” after the closure of footpaths surrounding the site forced some pedestrians to walk next to traffic on the busy city road to get round it.

In e-mail exchanges seen by the Edinburgh Evening News, residents were informed that plans to install a temporary walkway at the site had been agreed between council staff and the developers in late October.

However, the walkway never materialised and residents are still being forced to make a dangerous detour around scaffolding onto Gilmore Park road.

A council source has since told the Evening News the temporary footpath is to be installed early next week.

In an e-mail to a concerned local – who asked not to be identified – Lloyd Richardson, the council’s senior transport team leader, revealed the footpath closure was agreed on the basis that the scaffolding supporting the development would be too wide to install a temporary replacement.

However, as the scaffolding is shorter than initially planned, it was agreed a walkway could be installed in the interests of road safety.

In an e-mail dated October 26, Mr Richardson wrote: “As the encroachment is less than first anticipated it has been agreed with the developer to install a temporary pedestrian walkway and remove the footway closure on the south side of Fountainbridge.”

He continued: “This will be installed over the next few days.”

Mr Richardson has informed the resident that he has been in contact with the developer “to question why this has not been installed when the matter was discussed weeks ago”.

Local green party councillor Gavin Corbett said: “Edinburgh Printmakers’ transformation of the Castle Mill building is a great project that is widely welcomed in the area.”

“I know there have been some problems with the narrow footway there and I’d expect the building contractors to make alternative arrangements as quickly as possible.”

Interserve declined to comment when asked.

newsen@edinburghnews.com