Campaigner's relief over Edinburgh low traffic neighbourhood scheme re-think
A campaigner who fought against a council-imposed ‘low-traffic neighbourhood’ scheme says he feels ‘relieved’ after councillors rowed back on implementing the scheme without consultation.
Edinburgh City Council had been trying to use emergency coronavirus powers to introduce a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in East Craigs, which would enable the local authority to impose measures and then consult with the community, as opposed to the other way round.
However, at a meeting of the council’s transport committee last week, opposition councillors managed to gain verbal assurance from the transport committee’s convener, Liberton and Gilmerton councillor Lesley Macinnes, that full consultation would take place before any implementation.
Subsequently, the promise of a public consultation prior to an LTN being implemented was rubber stamped at a full meeting of the council on Thursday November 19.
The council’s original plan would have seen road closures on Craigs Crescent, Craigs Avenue, North Gyle Road, and Craigs Gardens, as well as a partial closure on North Gyle Terrace, but now the opinions of residents will be gathered before the plans for an LTN are finalised.
There is also the possibility the LTN could be scrapped in its entirety, as following public consultation the revised plans will have to be approved by the transport committee, but given the ruling SNP/Labour administrations majority on the committee and full council, this appears unlikely.
Welcoming the news, local campaigner David Hunter, chair of Get Edinburgh Moving, said: “We’re quite relieved. I guess it’s a real frustration that we’ve invested a huge amount of time in the community and had to battle against the council, rather than working with them.
“We called on them to stop, engage and consult on plans we felt were deeply flawed.
“Over the last few months we’ve felt they were trying to impose this against the wishes of the vast majority of residents.
“It’s really frustrating we’ve had to fight against the council that is there to represent us.
“We welcome the fact there will be a full consultation before any implementation of a scheme.
“It’s important we work with the council to make sure that consultations will put the views of local residents above all else.”
Mr Hunter became involved in the campaign against the East Craigs LTN after coordinating an open letter to the councillor, from a small group of local residents.
The group grew from there, and after another resident set up the ‘Get Edinburgh Moving: East Craigs Residents Consultation’, the campaign gathered steam and the support of several opposition councillors.
Mr Hunter added: “A real positive of this whole sorry situation has been seeing a community come together, it has mobilised and engaged the community to make sure our local area is the best it can be.
“It might appear that we are against any change, and that is not at all true - our objection is fundamentally based around the principle that the council has been trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in East Craigs.”
Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporting Service