Edinburgh north-south tram route: Crewe Toll fire station could be under threat

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Questions raised over line of the new tram route at Crewe Toll junction

Edinburgh's Crewe Toll fire station could be under threat from the proposed new north-south tram route.

The new tramline from Granton through the city centre and out to the Royal Infirmary will mean changes to the Crewe Toll junction to accommodate trams going along either Telford Road or Crewe Road South, depending on which route is chosen. But that could mean the fire station, which sits in an apex of the junction between Ferry Road and Telford Road, is in the way.

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The city council's transport and environment committee on Thursday agreed two options for the route should go out to consultation in the spring - one using the Roseburn cycle path, with a diversion along Telford Road to serve the Western General Hospital - the preferred option of council officials; the other going via Crewe Road South, Orchard Brae and Queensferry Road.

At the meeting, Forth ward Lib Dem councillor Sanne Dijkstra-Downie asked officials: "When the tram comes down from Granton and along Ferry Road, hits Crewe Toll and then were to go down to Telford Road, you have an almost 45 degree angle if you were going down the roundabout - can you explain to me how the tram comes down from Granton onto Telford Road?"

The map seems to show the tramline running through Crewe Toll fire station.The map seems to show the tramline running through Crewe Toll fire station.
The map seems to show the tramline running through Crewe Toll fire station.

Hannah Ross, who was in charge of the tram extension to Newhaven, said there were "a few options" and "ways of potentially cutting across the roundabout". Cllr Dijkstra-Downie then asked: "Is going through the fire station one of the options you're considering?"

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: "The configuration at that junction and the implications  for the line  are similar for both routes. In fact, the Orchard Brae route would probably be more challenging to come through that area."

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And director of place Paul Lawrence said: "There are some sensitive property-related issues which we are thinking about and discussing. It would not be the intention at this stage to need to use the fire station, but there are other sensitive property issues which we are looking at." 

After the meeting, Lib Dem group leader Kevin Lang said: "If there was one lesson that came out from the tram inquiry it's the need for complete openness and transparency about what building tram and tram extensions means in reality. The map that was produced for the council report, when you zoom in, you can see that the preferred lne goes straight through Crewe Toll fire station.

"As we move forward, officers will hae to be open about what these 'sensitive property issues' are and what that really means. And if the tram is going to require the relocation of the fire station, where would that go when it is such a critically important emergency service for the west of Edinburgh?"

Cllr Lang said from the map, it looked as if it was only the Roseburn cycle path option that involved running a line through the fire station. And he noted the report to the committee was "totally silent" on the issue.

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Crewe Toll was one of 14 fire stations which featured on a list issued by the SFRS in September of its properties affected by the potentially dangerous RAAC concrete. It is understood the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has liaised with the council over the new tram route. But the SFRS said there were no plans to move Crewe Toll community fire station.

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