IT’S the time of year when tennis fans are usually wary of water coming from the skies – but anyone looking to play tennis on the Meadows over the weekend was more likely to need a boat and a paddle than a roof over their heads.
Questions have been raised as to why a water main near North Meadow Walk which burst on Friday afternoon was still gushing water on Tuesday – flooding a children’s play park and half of the tennis courts.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Leisure confirmed on Tuesday that half of the courts at the Meadows Tennis ground were unavailable due to flooding.
Cameron Rose, the Conservative councillor for Southside/Newington, said he was “disappointed” at the length of time it had taken for the burst to be repaired, especially during “peak tennis season”.
Wimbledon begins next Monday, and the increased interest in tennis is likely to see courts booked out by fans gearing up for what is regarded by many as the most important tennis event of the year.
A spokesman for Tennis Scotland said: “Obviously it’s unfortunate timing with Wimbledon so near. However, all partners are involved with trying to resolve this situation and get people back on the courts as soon as possible.”
A man who first saw the effects of the burst pipe on Saturday morning said he “couldn’t believe” the leak had not been fixed three days later.
Andy Picken, 34, who lives in Morrison Gardens, said: “I first saw it at about 11am on Saturday when I was walking through the Meadows with my family. It was quite a significant leak – the water was gushing about two or three feet high – and I couldn’t believe it when I saw it was still going.
“I phoned Scottish Water, who said it was first reported on Friday and they couldn’t say when it will be fixed. Seems crazy given volume of water being leaked. It has flooded the small play park – which now has ducks in it – and the tennis courts.”
Transport and environment convener Lesley Hinds said the council was working with Scottish Water to ensure the leak was repaired as quickly as possible.
Other officials said they would be looking for answers as to why the leak had continued for so long.
Local Green Councillor Steve Burgess said: “I’m very surprised it’s taken Scottish Water so many days to get the water turned off. A three-foot fountain gushing for so long is a significant leak and the flooding caused has put tennis courts, some of the kids playground and paths out of use. Another concern is whether surfaces and trees have been undermined and damaged by all this water.”
Local SNP Councillor Jim Orr said he would be seeking a “full explanation” of the circumstances of the burst, adding: “I visited the site over the weekend and am assured by officers, who were also quickly on the scene, that Scottish Water are working hard to fix the burst main. It is an inconvenience but I hope there is no long-term damage to the park or tennis courts, or any significant delay in the completion of the upgrade to the cycleway.”
A spokesman for Scottish Water said last night: “It is causing some flooding but is not affecting the water supply in the area. We have attended but have encountered some problems with valves as we try to turn the water off to stop the flooding and enable us to repair the burst.
“A repair squad will attend this evening. There should be no interruption to supply for customers. Work will start around 11pm and we are aiming for the work to be completed by early morning.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the burst.”
Murray mania is back
ANDY Murray mania following his success at Queen’s in London, has led to a 237 per cent surge in the search for Wimbledon tickets.
The Dunblane-born champ and British No 1, pictured left, who trained in Edinburgh during his early years, defeated Marin Cilic to win the “Wimbledon warm-up” at the Aegon Championships. Ticket seller Viagogo said there had been a 237 per cent increase in ticket searches since his win on Sunday. Tickets for the men’s final on July 7, are being listed for up to £2950.
Spokesman Steve Roest said: “Just because a ticket is listed on Viagogo at a high price doesn’t necessarily mean it will sell for that. What it shows is that the nation is backing Murray at Wimbledon.”