COVID Update 9 from Neil Ross

Please note that all views expressed in this newsletter are the views of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Neil Ross – Merchiston Community Council is not a party affiliated organisation. This is for resident information purposes only and MCC should not be held accountable for the views expressed in this bulletin. Thank you – MCC Communications and Media Coordinator (merchistonmedia@gmail.com). 

Cllr Ross can be contacted at  neil@edinburghlibdems.org or on 07738 116055

Parking charges to be re-introduced

At a Council meeting held today it was decided to re-introduce parking charges with effect from Monday 15 June.  This means that normal charges will apply for ‘Pay and Display’ bays on Monday and thereafter. 

There is one exception to this.  Because of the excess of permits over spaces, holders of Residents Parking permits have been allowed during lockdown to occupy ‘Pay and Display’ bays within their own parking zone without charge.  This concession has been allowed to continue with the support of Liberal Democrat councillors and will be reviewed by the Council once remote or home working is no longer the default national position.

Braid Road closure

As you know, I have been running a survey of residents’ views on the future for Braid Road, taking into account various planned improvements to come, including a light-controlled pedestrian and cyclist crossing and the removal of the mini-roundabout.  I have promoted the survey widely via posts and video on Facebook.  Thanks to all who have taken part.  So far after a week my survey suggests, on 140 responses, there are 39% for permanent closure, 37% for re-opening with double yellow lines outside the entrance to the Hermitage and 16% for re-opening as before.  The remaining 8% say it is too soon to tell. 

Many people, including me, have enjoyed the relative peace and quiet in the area because of the closure of Braid Road.  However, as has been pointed out to me, when people start returning to places of work, school and leisure and traffic levels rise, particularly on the main road, the practical concerns of local residents for access to and from Morningside could make long term closure difficult at present.

So how can we retain all or most of the benefits of closure while facilitating the access needs of residents for whom walking or cycling is not a practical option?  I am therefore continuing to listen to residents’ views as the lockdown is relaxed.  Lots of residents have made useful and interesting suggestions which I think should be properly considered.  I will feed these into the Council’s Roads and Active Travel teams.

McLarens Pub at Holy Corner

Local residents will be aware that McLarens Pub has started to sell burgers, pizzas and alcohol on a take away basis during lockdown.  I have checked with the Council’s Licensing team that a temporary licence is in place for take away sales and have been told that regular inspection visits are being made.  I have also written to the Council’s Planning Enforcement team about compliance with the conditions of planning permission, in particular, with regard to accessing the right of way across the front of the site, the location of the bins and the permanent nature of the umbrellas.  I understand that investigations are still in progress.

Road safety at Midmar Corner

Local residents will be aware of the regular occurrence of traffic incidents at the corner of Midmar Drive and Hermitage Drive, at the Midmar paddock car park.  Recently the two lamp posts had to be replaced after a vehicle came off the road, having taken the corner too quickly, and knocked them over.  I have written to the Council’s Road Safety team to point out the dangers at this corner and to ask for measures to improve road safety.  So far, I have secured additional signage and a refresh of the ‘Slow Down’ white road markings.  Given that average speeds of well over 24 mph were recorded on both roads, the Council has promised measures to tackle speeding.  I will hold them to this.

Feeding the birds at Blackford Pond

Many local people have enjoyed visits to Blackford Pond during lockdown to see the families of swans and signets, ducks and ducklings.  Unfortunately, a surplus of food, particularly white bread, left at the pond, either thrown on the water or dumped at the side has attracted rats and seagulls, which are a danger to young wildlife.  I have written to the Council’s Heritage Service team, usually based at Hermitage House, to ask for robust and improved educational/instructive signs to inform visitors about when and what to feed the birds.

Spaces for people in Edinburgh – reminder

There is still an opportunity for residents to identify ‘pinch points’ or situations where emergency measures could help people maintain physical distancing safely on foot, bike or wheelchair via the Commonplace mapping tool  The suggestions made will help influence Council plans over the coming weeks and months and runs till 29 June.

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