Letters: Democracy is the loser over Portobello setts

One reader believes that the Transport and Planning Committee has defied democracy with their decision to scrap the setts in Porty. Do you agree?

Monday, 30th July 2018, 2:22 pm
Updated Monday, 30th July 2018, 2:27 pm
The council are to replace the setts on the road in Brighton Place, just off Portobello High Street.

The Transport and Planning Committee’s decision to overturn an earlier decision taken in early 2016 to relay Brighton Place in Portobello with asphalt instead of setts has sparked wide debate.

The committee reached this earlier decision democratically in 2016, following the results of, at that time, the widest survey completed by the community council which showed a clear majority for the asphalt option.

The committee also took into account the fact that the asphalt option was one third the cost of replacing the setts - £1.2 million for setts, £400,000 for asphalt and would result in Brighton Place being closed for a third of the time.

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Since the decision was taken in March of this year, around 2000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to reconsider. Our door to door survey in Brighton Place itself showed that of those contacted (70%), over two thirds favoured the asphalt option. We could only find six households who supported the setts.

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It seems, therefore, that those who, for whatever reason favour the much more expensive option are prepared to foist their views on Brighton Place residents, the vast majority of whom oppose the setts. No matter the cost. No matter the disruption. Now that is worrying.

Our survey, carried out by shopkeepers and businesses, found 100% favoured the asphalt option and are very very concerned the effects of a closure, for well over a year, will have on their livelihoods.

No Impact or Equalities Assessment has ever been carried out by the council on the effects a 60-week closure, with four major bus routes being diverted, will have on people with disabilities, older people or local businesses. This, I understand, is a legal requirement.

If the council continue to ignore these facts, indeed continue to ignore the views of the majority of Portobello people, then that would be a real affront to local democracy.

Jimmy Burnett, Portobello Against the Setts