Edinburgh roads: Portobello residents claim council ignoring their views over closure of Brunstane Road

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Residents in Portobello claim their views are being ignored as the council prepares to confirm the controversial closure of a key road in the area despite more than 600 objections

Brunstane Road, which runs between Milton Road East and Joppa Road, has been closed to through traffic on a trial basis since early 2022 after residents’ complaints over long-running problems with traffic jams and damage to parked cars.

Traffic congestion in Southfield Place, Portobello, which is a continuation of Brighton Place.Traffic congestion in Southfield Place, Portobello, which is a continuation of Brighton Place.
Traffic congestion in Southfield Place, Portobello, which is a continuation of Brighton Place. | Supplied

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But people living in the wider area claim the closure has increased traffic in their streets. And Diana Cairns, chair of the Brightons and Rosefield Association, said the opposition to the move has not diminished since the trial started.

A traffic order to make the closure permanent attracted 837 responses - 155 supporting the move and 618 objections to it. But the city council’s licensing sub-committee will be asked on Tuesday to back the traffic order.

Ms Cairns said: “It has been a disaster for most areas apart from Brunstane Road.  In our area it has given rise to a huge increase in traffic in Brighton Place.  There are long queues and tailbacks at peak times, but when it's quieter there is a lot of speeding.  It's a 20mph limit and you get people going at 30 or 40mph.

“And an issue completely ignored by the council is that this is allegedly a safe route to school - it’s a route to access numerous schools and nurseries. But the fact there are more vehicles and more speeding makes this a less safe route for children.

The council's licensing sub-committee is being asked to make the closure of Brunstane Road permanent.The council's licensing sub-committee is being asked to make the closure of Brunstane Road permanent.
The council's licensing sub-committee is being asked to make the closure of Brunstane Road permanent. | Supplied

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“We just feel our views have been ignored. It’s extremely frustrating because we're not having our concerns addressed at all. And now it seems the council is determined to enforce this change on us permanently which has only really worked for the people in Brunstane Road - it hasn't really worked for anyone else.”

Russell Eadie, chair of Joppa Residents Association, said: “A well-known access road has been turned into a cul-de-sac. We've now got everybody doing these huge detours, people speeding along Coillesdene because Brunstane Road is closed.

“There has been a 173 per cent increase in traffic volume in Coillesdene Avenue. And there have been a number of crashes and cars written off because of other speeding cars, which hadn’t happened before.”

People living in Brunstane Road have said that before the closure they had over 2,000 vehicles a day using the street, including HGVs. And they claimed seeding vehicles in a relatively narrow street led to regular damaged to their parked cars.

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A council report says other options were considered, such as making Brunstane Road one-way or introducing parking restrictions, but they were rejected because they would not “adequately address the problems”.

But Ms Cairns said: “They have never trialled these options. We've always said let's try a comprmise - make it one-way or remove parking from one side.  At the moment it seems one group, Brunstane Road, have got what they want 100 per cent and we're all suffering as a result.”

Portobello Conservative councillor Tim Jones backs those calling for Brunstane Road to be reopened. He said: “The public consultation shows that the overwhelming majority of residents in Portobello are opposed to the closure of Brunstane Road. They believe the council is ignoring their wishes and also believe they are operating double standards and treating them unfairly.

“They contrast the case of Brunstane Road with the recent decision to reverse the Braid estate Spaces for People measures that were introduced during Covid on the basis of 48 per cent opposing them, while support for reopening Brunstane Road has consistently been 70 per cent and above.”

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The council report for Tuesday’s meeting says the problems on Brunstane Road have now been “significantly reduced, if not removed” as a result of the trial closure because vehicles have been dispersed into the wider network.

“However, concerns remain for the residents in the Coillesdene area and officers have concluded that additional measures should include sinusoidal speed humps on Coillesdene Avenue, Milton Drive and Milton Terrace to help address any issues caused by displaced traffic.”

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