WHAT started out as a peaceful morning for students at Morrison Circus halls soon descended into farce – when an angry contractor arrived and pulled out a bedroom window.
Students living in the private accommodation – not far from Haymarket station – were dumbfounded when the man shouted: “I’m going to take the window, I’ve not been paid,” and left just the frame in one of the resident’s bedrooms.
We received a call to say a contractor was removing a pane over non-payment of bills”CHRIS McVITTY
In bitterly cold temperatures, students began filing out on to the street to watch the drama. Police even arrived to make sure no trouble broke out.
When a different glazer turned up to replace it, he simply refitted the same pane, which had been left undamaged in a nearby bin.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “When I woke up I just heard the man shouting something along the lines of, ‘I’m going to take the window, I’ve not been paid’.
“I think he maybe put in the window a few months ago and he wasn’t paid for the job.
“At first we thought he was just kidding, but then he actually started ripping the full window pane out.
“There was no glass left.”
Universal Student Living, the company which manages the four-storey building housing 96 students, admitted the contractor had not been paid as arranged for a job he had carried out at the premises previously.
As soon as the firm heard about the incident, it sent an alternative contractor to re-fit the window, according to director Chris McVitty.
He said: “We received a call from the site yesterday morning to say that a contractor was removing a window pane from its frame, and complaining of non-payment of bills.
“Having inquired of our accounts team, a number of invoices had exceeded the contractor’s credit terms.
“The bills were paid immediately and we instructed another contractor to replace the windows, which took place again very quickly.
“Our primary concern in these circumstances is to look after the welfare of the students and to act quickly.
“We will keep in close touch with the students to make certain they are reassured that the incident has been satisfactorily dealt with.”
All of the students who live in Morrison Circus study at Edinburgh Napier University.
Gordon Henderson, senior development manager at the Small Federation of Businesses, said that late payment to small businesses was a common problem across Scotland.
He said: “In general, late payment is something across the country that small businesses are suffering from – it is a major burden for them.
“If a time frame has been agreed for a payment, then it should absolutely be paid within that time.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland added: “Police were called to Morrison Circus at around 10.15am on Friday, in connection with a civil matter.
“Officers attended and offered the appropriate advice to all parties.”