Edinburgh resident blames tramworks for pieces of masonry falling off his tenement

A Leith Walk resident is blaming vibrations from the tramworks for two chunks of masonry falling off the tenement where he lives.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 4:55 am

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But Alex Poole says neither the tram project nor the council will investigate or take any action – and he fears lives could be at risk if nothing is done to stop further masonry falls.

Mr Poole noticed a crack in one of his internal walls in March, but became more concerned when he returned home one day in June to find an 8cm chunk of masonry close to his front door. He could see it had come away from the window ledge of his second-floor flat.

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Alex Poole believes the tramworks caused the masonry falls

He was convinced it had been caused by the work on the extension of the tram route down Leith Walk to Newhaven.

“For the last two years I have had significant vibrations coming through my property – you can stand in my front room and watch a glass of water and plants visibly shaking.

“The idea that a 200 year-old listed building has been designed to withstand 24 months of sustained vibrations is ludicrous.”

But he says when he contacted the Trams to Newhaven project about it they were not interested.

The piece of masonry which fell in June was 8cm long

“They said it was nothing to do with them and I should speak to Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service, which I did. As I understand it somebody came out and looked at it – they didn't get in touch with me – and sent me an email saying there was 'no imminent risk'.

“I was a bit taken aback by that because masonry falling off a building onto public walkways is definitely something that should be investigated.”

Then in August another piece of masonry fell off. This time it measured 12cm and came from higher up, between the second and third storeys.

The second fall in August involved a 12cm piece of masonry

Mr Poole says he again contacted Trams to Newhaven and the council-run Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service, but with no better outcome.

He said: “I can’t believe that everyone I have emailed has done nothing to preserve life in Leith Walk.

"There's an open air cafe right next to my property and at any moment anther piece of masonry could come off and strike somebody who's sitting having coffee.

“To have an email saying there is no imminent risk is shocking.

There have been two masonry falls in two months

"I'm happy there should be some sort of investigation of vibrations, but before that they need to make sure no-one is going to be hit by 12cm pieces of masonry.”

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A council spokesperson said: “Our local vibration monitors have confirmed that vibrations relating to the Trams to Newhaven project are well within the parameters set out by the Code of Construction Practice which forms part of the Edinburgh Tram Act 2006, with which we must comply. On this basis we’ve advised that the works being carried out are not causing unsafe conditions and will not be the cause of any falling masonry.

“Additionally, Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service officers have visited the property in question on several occasions and have found no evidence of fallen masonry and nothing visible to identify any defects with the building. They did provide advice about assessing building defects and tools to help owners repair their tenements available on the Council’s website.”

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