Newcraighall parents install gate to ‘prevent joyriders’ despite council rejecting planning application

Residents of an Edinburgh street concerned about the safety of their children have erected a coded gate to prevent joyriders from racing through their housing scheme despite the planning application being rejected by the council.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am

Parents living on Blackchapel Road at Newcraighall spoke of the turmoil that they have faced over the years as their street has become a magnet for youths travelling through at ‘dangerous’ speeds on allegedly stolen quad bikes and motorbikes.

While there have been no injuries so far, it is claimed that there has been a number of ‘near misses’ with youths travelling on bikes at ‘40 or 50 miles per hour’.

They also claim that there have been houses broken into, vandalised and gardens have been trashed on the road.

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Residents had the gate built amid child safety concerns despite the council rejecting their planning application

An application was submitted to Edinburgh City Council for permission to build a coded gate, with the code available for public use next to the gate on a sign as the road is deemed a public walkway, but was knocked back by the council’s planning department.

A resident said: “About 90 per cent of the houses on the road have kids and we have been experiencing break ins, vandalism and joy riders on motorcycles driving on the pavement through our scheme.

“We applied for permission to put up a code fence to prevent this and were knocked back due to it being a public walkway.

“We don’t want to stop people walking through that’s why we wanted to make the code available, we wanted a gate purely to slow down motorcycles driving through, instead of any help, the council have just sent threatening letters. We have our children’s safety at heart and there is an accident waiting to happen.”

Although the planning permission was rejected, the concerned parents decided for their childrens’ safety to have the gate built anyway and it was built around a month ago.

Now, they have received a letter from the council which advises that the gate is illegal and they have until May 3 to remove it.

Another resident who wished not to be named said: “Since the gate has been up things have been a million times better. Passers by are not the problem, it’s more of a deterrent for joyriders and kids on quad bikes.

“Over the years they have always used this walkway to go down at dangerous speeds and its not safe.

“If you’ve got kids you’ve got to be hawk eyed and watching them all the time because it is an accident waiting to happen.

“You want to be relaxed and know it is safe when your kids are playing right outside your front door. The council haven’t done anything to help us.”

The gate has since been vandalised and can now be pushed open without a code but one parent said that it had minimised the amount of bikes speeding through.

A council spokesperson said: “We have asked residents to remove the gate, which was erected illegally, as it is blocking a public right of way. We would encourage residents to contact the police with any concerns around antisocial behaviour.”

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