Residents fear bollards will block emergency access

Andrew Wilson pictured with a bollard on Waterfront Avenue. Picture: Greg Macvean
Andrew Wilson pictured with a bollard on Waterfront Avenue. Picture: Greg Macvean
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COUNCIL chiefs are threatening to reinstall controversial bollards which were removed from outside a block of Edinburgh flats amid safety concerns following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

The bollards – two at each end of an access road at 31-57 Waterfront Avenue in Granton – were originally put in to stop motorists parking.

Residents of the six- and seven-storey block of 80 flats claimed they could stop emergency vehicles reaching them in the event of a fire. And after repeated protests they were taken away.

But now the council wants to put collapsible bollards in the same position and the residents have returned to the fray. Andrew Wilson said: “The council intends to revive its plan to block vehicle access by installing bollards at each end of the access road.

“The first time they did this, without prior warning, was a week after the Grenfell fire when they installed permanent bollards which prevented access by fire appliances and other emergency services.”

He said it was a public meeting called by local councillor George Gordon which led to the council “seeing sense”.

“Now they are proposing to erect removable lockable bollards instead, and they claim the fire service will have keys.

“No other emergency service will have keys, but in any case, the locks on the bollards will become rusted solid within a short time.

“The ostensible reason for this waste of money by the council is to prevent parking on the pavement outside the flats. However, there are plenty of ways in which this could be prevented without blocking access for the emergency services.

“And in any case, there are already plans to make parking on pavements illegal, which will render these bollards redundant.”

Fred Marinello, chair of Granton and District Community Council, said the fire service had had issues with the original bollards and residents were worried about access, especially after Grenfell.

“There are also a number of disabled people in the block who are worried an ambulance could not get to them in an emergency.”

He said it was the public meeting which had forced the removal of the bollards. And he claimed: “The council want to put them back now because their noses are out of joint.”

Councillor Gordon said: “I had concerns regarding these bollards and I called a public meeting and we had a frank exchange with council officials.

“I’m disappointed the bollards are being reinstalled prior to any further measures being considered.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Bollards are being installed on this shared cycleway and footpath in order to deter illegal parking, which is an issue in the area.

“As part of the process we have consulted with the emergency services, who have confirmed that they are satisfied these bollards will not restrict access to nearby properties.”