Crossing at underpass on hold

Many residents avoid using the trouble-hit underpass
Many residents avoid using the trouble-hit underpass
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PLANS to provide a new crossing to allow Sighthill residents avoid a notorious crime-ridden underpass have been scuppered.

Residents have conducted a three-year campaign to get the city council to put a pedestrian crossing at Calder Road’s junction with Sighthill Court and claim they were misled into thinking it was a “done deal”.

But the council now says it has failed to secure the funding required to make it happen.

A financial contribution of £150,000 towards the crossing was secured from Napier University when work commenced on the redevelopment of its Sighthill campus.

But the council has been unable to top up the funds to the £300,000 required.

Many locals find the dingy subway intimidating because of a history of muggings and assaults.

Sighthill and Broomhouse Community Council secretary Keith Bell said: “We’ve been misled by the council – the community believed it was a done deal. There are pensioners who would rather spend 40 minutes on a bus than go through that underpass to get to the doctor’s surgery.

“What the council is now saying is the money given to them by Napier was only part of the money needed.

“I took it up with the council and I was told there had been no promises, they can’t find the extra money, so tough, basically.”

Napier University’s planning bid was considered back in 2008.

The planning papers read: “Reports . . . suggest there are safety concerns related to access to and from the public transport stops on Calder Road via existing underpass.

“Provision of a ‘green man’ pedestrian facility at the new junction would provide a more attractive alternative.”

The report said the council had already secured £130,000 towards safety improvements on Calder Road.

“I’m still looking for a explanation because I can’t fathom how as part of the planning requirements they can not do this,” said Mr Bell.

“Because of the extra number of vehicles and people around, the crossing was to be put in as a matter of safety.”

Sighthill Labour Councillor Donald Wilson said he was angry and disappointed at the situation.

“We are discovering in the small print the other funding for the crossing was to be found elsewhere. There’s been no mention of this until now – the whole community has been looking forward to having a crossing. People avoid the underpass by climbing over the barriers and crossing the road – it’s so dangerous.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said: “The initial proposals did include plans for a pedestrian crossing however it was dependant on additional funding being found for its construction.

“The council is working to identify and secure the necessary funds and if money is forthcoming in the future the pedestrian crossing will be revisited.”