CAMPAIGNERS who back the city council’s decision to keep setts in Portobello’s only cobbled street have hit back at critics who want the plan reversed.
The Evening News reported on Monday how some residents were calling for a rethink over the relaying of the setts because the work is set to cost up to £1.2 million and close the road for more than a year.
But people living in and around Brighton Place called on those objecting to the setts to accept the decision has been made in line with public opinion and council policy on preserving setted streets.
A survey by Portobello community council in 2015 found 57 per cent in favour of asphalt rather than setts.
But Diana Cairns, chair of the Brightons and Rosefield residents association, said her own survey of locals in the immediate area showed 88 per cent opting for setts.
And she said a breakdown of the city-wide survey conducted by the council as part of the review of its policy on setted streets found 86 per cent in Portobello/Craigmillar ward agreeing setted streets played an important role in defining Edinburgh’s heritage, 79 per cent saying setted streets should be protected and maintained and 70 per cent rejecting the idea damaged setts should be replaced by an alternative surfacing material.
Ms Cairns said the setts had never been completely relaid before. “It’s going to be done onto a concrete base – they’re on sand at the moment – and we have been told they will last 50 years, compared with 25-30 years for tarmac. This is a big investment for our area.
“Apart from a minority, people have accepted the work is going ahead and there will be road closures. The whole focus of this should be we’re having the setts, in line with council policy and public opinion, how can we minimise disruption for everyone?”
She said the original plan had been to start work in July, but it now looked as if it could be delayed.
“To put an end to the uncertainty it should start as soon as possible.”
Traders in Portobello High Street still fear the closure of Brighton Place for 62 weeks will hit their businesses. Joanne Shillington of Joanne’s dog and cat grooming salon said: “The thought of the road being shut for over a year is terrifying. People will just avoid the area.
“I’ve been here for 19 years but I’m worried about this. There are new businesses doing great, but this is the last thing they need.
“Portobello is a thriving wee place. It’s not like some high streets where there are lots of empty shops.
“If it gets a reputation for being really bad for traffic and difficult to get to, that’s going to stick.”
The council said the target date for starting work on Brighton Place was September this year.