Roadworks campaign finds itself in new jam

Brighton Place in Portobello is going to have its cobbled street replaced with a tar surface. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Brighton Place in Portobello is going to have its cobbled street replaced with a tar surface. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Campaigners have been told that planned roadworks to overhaul a main route into Portobello will not be halted.

Brighton Place will be shut for 60 weeks while the cobbled street is resurfaced with setts.

Councillors agreed in 2016 to remove the setts in Brighton Place and resurface the road in asphalt after a survey by Portobello Community Council found 57 per cent of locals backed a smooth surface being layed.

But in March this year, the decision was reversed and it was agreed to reconstruct the setts.

Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, told campaigners that the decision could not be reversed as it was part of a citywide improvement policy.

Steven Macintyre of Positive Porty Traders, told councillors that no businesses were in favour of the road being closed for the work.

He said: “Our main concern is damage to our businesses.

“We have good reason to presume that this closure of this main route into Portobello, together with the proposed bus diversion away from the high street, will cause both short and long-term harm and perhaps be terminal for some business that are struggling to make a living in Portobello.”

He added: “The overwhelming opinion of traders and hundreds of members of the public is they want the closure minimised.

“We believe there has been no full and competent consultation – it’s been a confusing process.”

Stephen Hawkins from the Portobello Heritage Trust, argued in favour of the work being carried out.

He said: “Most people had accepted that setts were to be relayed. Road closures take place across Edinburgh for resurfacing work all the time. Brighton Place is long overdue for maintenance.

“We certainly welcome this investment in rebuilt heritage that will provide a long-lasting road surface.”

Campaigner Paul Dunn, said a petition to stop the work had won the backing of more than 1,200 people.

He said: “There’s an overwhelming decision from our group that this decision needs to be reconsidered.

“We’ve asked the council to reverse the decision to relay the setts on Brighton Place due to the lack of suitability of setts as a road surface, the disproportionate disruption to local residents, businesses and visitors, as well as the high costs compared to asphalt.”

Cllr Macinnes said reversing the decision would “open the floodgates to challenge and change across the city”.

She added: “We are left in a somewhat difficult position here as a council.

“We made a decision in March of this year based on extensive consultation, technical investigation and we made a decision made on a citywide policy. That was a policy decision that was designed to protect the cultural and historical aspects of some of our streets.

“Setted streets add enormously to the beauty of Edinburgh, the cultural heritage of Edinburgh, the historical aspects of it.

“The standing orders of the council do not allow us to rescind a decision that we make at committee within six months unless there is material change. I cannot see that there has been a material change in circumstances.”