Cockburn Street: Edinburgh resident says historic street turned in 'shanty town' as council looks into changing parking restrictions

Edinburgh City council has said it is looking into changes to parking restrictions on a historic street after residents said it is becoming one of the ‘ugliest streets’ in the Capital.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:33 am

Since the start of lockdown, residents of Cockburn Street in Edinburgh have faced issues involving parking.

During the pandemic, Edinburgh Council took to the decision to nominally pedestrianise the area, only allowing for vehicles for businesses to load and unload at certain times in the morning.

Yet, issues of drivers ignoring the rules and parking on the street and on the pavement throughout the day has caused locals to worry about the safety and condition of the street.

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A resident of Cockburn Street in Edinburgh has said the street has become a 'shanty town' due to parking, rubbish and planning issues (Photo: SOS Cockburn Street).

The council has said they are now reconsidering parking restrictions after they were made aware of ‘continuing issues with inconsiderate parking’.

One resident who wishes to remain anonymous said: “We didn’t mind [the move to pedestrianising the area] because we thought we were going to gain a really nice, quiet street but the pedestrianisation is a complete nonsense.

"It is clearly not a pedestrianised street. We seem to have more lorries than we’ve ever had.

"This is not one of the most beautiful streets in Edinburgh. It’s a shanty town street and its turned into one of the ugliest streets.

"Our hopes were dashed. We’ve got the worst of all worlds. We’ve lost our parking, it isn’t pedestrianised, we are stilling paying for permits and we can’t walk down the street.”

Concerns have also arisen after businesses established outdoor dining structures, with seven of them lining the historic street.

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The resident – who established the Twitter page SOS Cockburn Street as a result of their concerns – said: "If anything happened on the pavement, you’d be stuck as they are sitting there.

"They are a complete physical barrier with no planning permission.

"They also block the rainwater gullies so all the water goes to the pavement and some local shops have been flooded.

“We’ve even seen rubbish and rats around them. We’ve had to pay for pest control as we’ve now got vermin in our building.”

Last week, planning permission for the structures was submitted to the council however, it was rejected. The council decided not to take enforcement action but to meet again next month and review its approach.

Worried about the ‘inaction’ of Edinburgh Council, the Cockburn Street local commented that a ‘catastrophic accident' will have to happen before any action is taken.

"I’d rather nobody got hurt.

"We’ve got people in this building who are moving because of this.

"The council have done nothing at all and they are not even going to enforce their rules.”

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said she has asked for parking attendants to make extra visits to address these concerns.

The councillor said: “While loading and unloading, and blue badge parking, is permitted on Cockburn Street, we are aware that there are continuing issues with inconsiderate parking there.

"We are looking into changes to restrictions and I have asked for parking attendants to make extra visits to address these concerns.

“Cockburn Street is one of Edinburgh’s iconic spots.

"Its popularity and charm is one of the reasons we pedestrianised it through Spaces for People, now Travelling Safely, to help the many people that visit to enjoy it safely.”

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