Edinburgh's Longstone path: Bridge works would cost council £40,000 to re-open vital connection
Closed Edinburgh path would cost £40,000 to repair damaged bridge, council claims
A council report into the Longstone path which has been closed for nearly four years has estimated that it would cost “in the region of £40,000” to repair the damaged bridge which led to the path’s closure on safety grounds.
The path linking Longstone to Stenhouse between HMP Edinburgh and the Water of Leith has been closed at the Longstone Road end since July 1, 2019, when the ‘Burnside Bridge’ or ‘Stenhouse Mill Lane Bridge’ which crosses the burn at the Longstone end of the path was closed due to safety concerns following flooding in the area.
City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee will meet next Thursday (February 2) to discuss the possibility of re-opening the path. Following a request by Councillor Scott Arthur in October last year, council officers have now compiled a report looking into the repair costs and land ownership questions at the site – which has been the main reason for the long closure. The City of Edinburgh Council was unable to repair the bridge as it is on private land, believed to be owned by the Earl of Morton.
External searchers were appointed to determine the ownership interests for the report. They identified, although were unable to confirm, ownership interests from The Earl of Morton (Lands and Estate of Saughton), Places for People Scotland Limited, and John David McCulloch (Lands and Barony of Redhall and Castlebrand).
Locals have been up in arms about the long-term closure of the vital community pedestrian link, with Longstone Community Council and local city councillors calling for it to be re-opened for some time now.
The report adds that the council can carry out repairs on the bridge as it is a public right of way, but it is not obliged to do so. The council report concludes that it would cost around £40,000 to carry out the repairs.
It says: “The council has legislative powers to undertake works to repair the bridge and may be able to recover costs in doing so. Should the council wish for the route to be re-opened timeously, funding will need to be allocated for doing so.
"It is anticipated that the cost of undertaking the works required to address the scoured abutments and deteriorated bridge deck (all privately owned) would be in the region of £40,000. Approval would be required from SEPA and works would have to be undertaken during times of low flow in the watercourse.”
However, council officers warned in the report: “It is likely that this area will be subject to development in the near future, and that this proposal will include improvements to the footbridge. Any council investment which cannot be recovered could therefore be abortive.”