Edinburgh businesses appeal for barriers to go and make way for parking spaces while roadworks are halted

Traders hit by roadworks outside their shops are calling for barriers to be pushed back to create parking spaces after the discovery of asbestos paused the project.

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The council announced earlier this week that asbestos cement had been found in the roofs of cellars under the pavement in Roseburn Terrace where work began last month on the £19.4 million cross-city cycle route known as the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL).

It said work had been stopped after the asbestos was discovered, but made clear there was no public health risk and added contractors were being called in to remove the material.

Businesses say the area where there is no work going on could be used for parking and provide a vital lifeline to the shops.

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The council also said: “In the interim period, we have reduced the footprint of the work site on the south side of Roseburn Terrace as much as possible returning the remaining footway, as well as the loading bay and parking bay, to the public.”

But Julian Skinner, who runs Moving Pictures, said none of that actually happened. "I’ve been at the shop every day and at no point was any of that stuff removed so people could park.”

And he appealed for the barriers where work has been halted to be pushed back so customers could park.

The shopkeepers have said their business has dropped by up to 70 per cent since the roadworks began and warned they are struggling to stay open.

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Businesses have complained the roadworks are deterring customers.

Mr Skinner said: “The south side of the road is probably 150-200 metres long and they’re only working on a stretch of 30-40 metres at one end.

“At the other end, for a length of about 80 metres, they’ve removed all their works and taken their tools away. They’re not doing any work there at all. But instead of moving the fences back so cars could park, they have just left it and people can walk in it.

“They’re obviously not planning to do any work there for a long time. What the traders need here is places for people to park.

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"If they just moved the fencing back a car-width on the south side of the street and created four or five parking bays it would make a massive difference to us.”

He said there had been such an arrangement in Leith Walk where the tram extension is being built.

Corstorphone/Murrayfield Tory councillor Scott Douglas said: “With the delay caused by the asbestos, we need to be looking into any measures that could help local businesses in the meantime.

“Opening up this space would allow room for delivery drivers and customer parking that is desperately needed, and provide a boost to local traders.

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“While council officials claim to be listening, they have so far shown little sign of taking any meaningful action to help these businesses.

“They are a vital part of the Roseburn community and we should be doing all we can to make sure they stay afloat during these works.”

A council spokesperson said: “While the site was scaled back when we were assessing the issue, we established that work could continue in the vicinity of the affected area, so the site has since been returned for construction to continue along the full length of the south side.

“This means that we can minimise any delays and complete the Roseburn phase of the scheme as quickly as possible.”

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