City street will be ‘Europe’s largest cul-de-sac’

Gwendoline MacDonald is angry at the changesGwendoline MacDonald is angry at the changes
Gwendoline MacDonald is angry at the changes
Livid residents in East Craigs are demanding consultation on major changes that they fear are set to turn their area into Europe’s largest cul-de-sac under the Spaces for People emergency proposals.

The Spaces for People programme, introduced by the Edinburgh City Council, is aimed at making pavements and streets safer for pedestrians and those cycling or wheeling during Covid.

But some residents are angered at the way the proposals have been forced upon them without formal consultation.

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The council has said several times that the proposals are emergency measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic – and that no formal consultation with residents was required.

One furious local, David Hunter, above left, has started a petition in opposition to the proposals – called “No Say, No Way” – which has garnered more than 1000 signatures and accuses the local authority of “creating Europe’s largest cul-de-sac”.

The petition states that the “undersigned reject the proposals in their current form” and accuses the council of an abuse of power. It also lays out fears that once the proposals are implemented the overall effect may mean the area becomes more congested and unsafe for local residents on foot, in cars, bikes or in wheelchairs.

Gwendoline Macdonald, above right, 40, a disabled resident who lives at the Maybury end of Craigs Road said she “feared being locked in my flat throughout winter” under the new proposals.

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On hearing the news she said she “almost burst into tears” as the proposals are “unrealistic” for someone who has to use a wheelchair.

She said: “This is absolutely outrageous, it is not a small change, I understand they cannot consult on everything that they do as this is not practical. But a massive change like this from five exit points to just one for our community is shocking.

“I pay Council Tax and for what? For me to be stuck at home because that is what is going to happen to me. What am I supposed to do, hop on a bike?”

Ms Macdonald continued: “I challenge anyone to borrow my wheelchair and try to get to the bus stop on Drumbrae South o r the Gyle and see what it is like going down and back up with shopping.

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“I am worried that this winter they are just locking me inside my house as an experiment.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Liberal Democrate MSP for Edinburgh Western, has also sent a letter inviting transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes, to join residents in a socially distanced outdoor meeting next week to explain the council’s to the people affected by it.

But one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, was in support of the plans, and said: “I hope you’re not under the impression that everyone in the local area is against this. The opposition Facebook group is almost promoting a quite negative mindset. I think we should be happy that our council is finally thinking green and acting to make a positive environmental impact.”

Cllr Macinnes said: “We understand that there are some concerns, as well as some support, in East Craigs regarding the introduction of these measures, which was discussed at the Policy and Sustainability Committee as part of the wider Spaces for People initiative.

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“These interventions are designed to create safe, people-friendly streets by reducing speeding and opportunities for rat running. Access by car for residents and those travelling by foot or by bike is still possible in a Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

“Spaces for People measures are temporary, and are created to help us achieve safe physical distancing for people moving around the city during this difficult time.”

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