IT’S a community garden that was ten years in the making – but it was trashed in only seconds.
Residents living next to a carefully restored green space in the Capital have spoken of their shock after a car smashed into its perimeter wall during a night-time collision.
The one-vehicle incident in Gardner’s Crescent, close to Haymarket, which occurred at around 9.45pm on Saturday, resulted in complete demolition of a section of stonework.
It is thought the impact also damaged part of the surrounding structure, making railings unsafe.
The crash came only weeks after residents handed full control of the garden back to the council after overseeing a decade-long revamp inspired by original Georgian designs.
Among the improvements are wrought iron gates, entrance posts, a roundel and shrubbery. The site had also been extensively landscaped.
Locals today said there were deep fears over the future of the garden as the council battles to balance the books.
Rob Wilkinson, chairman of Friends of Gardner’s Crescent, said: “It’s just galling. It’s been such a long, painful process, and to have this happen right at the end.
“The garden was in a state of disrepair and has basically been restored back to its Georgian condition for the first time.
“There’s a worry, because the restoration involved lots of specialist work and it’s expensive, and because the city has to prioritise spending, that the council will make the area safe – but then what?”
Records show that the crescent’s decorative cast iron railings were torn down – like those on many homes and gardens around the country – to provide raw materials for the Second World War effort.
Gardner’s Crescent itself is believed to have been built in the early 1800s, by Scottish architects R&R Dickson, for military hero William Gardner.
Overlooking it are two mid-19th century artisan housing developments – Rosebank Cottages and Rosemount Buildings.
Mr Wilkinson said: “It’s sickening that the project has taken such a thump right at the end – and sickening that the iron and stonework has been damaged.”
The project was driven forward by residents and completed with backing from Edinburgh World Heritage, ScottishPower, Miller Homes and the council.
City leaders said they would look into the cost of completing repairs.
A spokeswoman said: “We were very sorry to hear about the incident at Gardner’s Crescent and will liaise with the police for a vehicle accident report and then take the appropriate action.
“Arrangements have been made in the interim to make the area safe and estimates will be obtained for the required repairs to the damaged garden wall.”
Local police officers said they were aware of the incident, adding that an inquiry was ongoing to establish the full circumstances.