City accused of ‘arrogance’ over Leith Walk works

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CONCERNS have continued to emerge about a planned overhaul of Leith Walk.

The council yesterday announced plans to start a £5.5 million project of works in September, with utility work and improvements to the area being carried out until late 2013.

Residents have raised concerns about the problems yet another overhaul of the street will cause, and the lack of detail of the planned improvements.

Today Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith, accused the council of ignoring public demand for a segregated cycle route down Leith Walk. He said community groups Greener Leith and Leith Open Space had carried out a substantial consultation exercise which found 500 people in favour of a lane where cyclists would be protected from other traffic by a barrier or bollards.

He said: “To ignore the views of that many people smacks of arrogance and the old ‘we know best’ attitude of the previous council.

“They have said they will try to take cyclists’ needs into account, but frankly that’s just not good enough. If the finance committee next week is going to let the contract for resurfacing, a segregated cycle lane should be mentioned in that contract.

“We don’t underestimate that there may be technical challenges, but at the very least the council should undertake a feasibility study.”

Fellow Leith Walk councillor Maggie Chapman added: “It’s really unfortunate that people in and around Leith Walk are going to be affected yet again but hopefully we will get it right this time and make Leith Walk the kind of street we all know it can be. It’s been neglected for too long.

“Hopefully, there will also be more public meetings to allow local people and organisations to feed in their ideas.”