Edinburgh Council's Spaces for People project is a transport revolution by stealth – John McLellan

It becomes more apparent by the day that Edinburgh Council’s Spaces for People programme of road closures, parking suspension and pavement widening is not so much a temporary response to the pandemic as an opportunity to drive through a transport revolution without the need for proper consultation.
John McLellan satirically suggests horses might be the solution to Edinburgh's transport problems (Picture: PA)John McLellan satirically suggests horses might be the solution to Edinburgh's transport problems (Picture: PA)
John McLellan satirically suggests horses might be the solution to Edinburgh's transport problems (Picture: PA)

What passes for consultation has been the response to implementation, with the council taking a “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” approach to changes and then, it appears, to pass off angry reaction in disrupted communities as positive comments.

The result of a freedom of information request by this paper reveals that the council claims there only to have been two official complaints about SfP, while the transport convener Lesley Macinnes acknowledges in an article this week that over 4,000 comments were received. Are we to believe all but two were praise?

Read More
Spaces for People Edinburgh: Council reveal that only two official complaints ha...
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

No surprise the only ones she highlighted were from supporters, like a family walking down Braid Road to the Hermitage, not the angry emails councillors received about the resulting congestion on Comiston Road, or the hundreds of complaints which poured in about Lanark Road and West Craigs, or the threat of legal action.

In council new-speak, “able to make even more improvements” means quickly reverse ill-conceived blockages which cause more problems than they solve.

Just as legendary car manufacturer Henry Ford famously quipped that if he’d asked people what they wanted they’d just have said faster horses, in Edinburgh you don’t get asked because the answer is slower journeys. Maybe horses are the answer.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.