Memorial benches were burned a few hundred yards from Edinburgh council wood recycling centre

Council leader says an investigation will conclude "as soon as possible"

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 11:45 am
Council leader Adam McVey said an investigation is underway and will be concluded as soon as possible

Anger has continued to escalate around the burning of memorial benches by Edinburgh City Council less than half a mile away from a recycling centre.

A formal disciplinary procedure is underway within the council with leader Adam McVey saying lessons will be learned after the Evening News revealed the benches were being burned in Inch Park Depot, just across the road from the Craigmillar Waste Recycling Centre.

'Completely unacceptable event'

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Memorial benches were burned at the council's Inch Depot

Cllr McVey said the investigation would be concluded “as soon as possible” and any recommendations put in place to avoid a repeat.

He said: “It is important that we find out how this completely unacceptable event happened.

“An investigation is underway and I’ve been assured by the Chief Executive that this will be concluded as soon as possible and any recommendations to avoid anything similar happening again are adopted.“

Karen Doran, vice convenor for transport and environment - the committee which passed the report changing the rules on the decommissioning of the benches - said she would have been “devastated” if one of the benches had belonged to her.

Council leader Adam McVey

She said she did not know how the scandal could have happened and said the person behind the decision must be held accountable.

'Really sad and disappointed'

Cllr Doran said: “I am really sad and disappointed and I hope there is a full investigation into what is going on.

“I don’t know how this would have happened and that is what we need to investigate. We need to find out who made that decision.

“I just think of all of the organisations that could have used those benches. I think it is a depressing story and a really sad headline on a personal note.”

The Labour councillor added she had thought about purchasing a bench for her mother close to Portobello police station after watching her sit and gossip with friends throughout her life.

Despite never having purchased a bench, Cllr Doran said she would be “devastated” if she found out a loved-ones bench had been burned.

She said: “I wanted to get one for my mother because she looked after my children when I was working and used to sit on a bench by Portobello police station.

“If I had done that and they took the chair away and burned it I would have been totally devastated.”