Anti-LTN group takes fight to Edinburgh City Chambers

Tuesday August 22nd 2023

ACE members at Transport and Environment Committee

Members Accessible Corstorphine for Everyone at the Transport and Environment Committee.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

A group of Corstorphine residents opposed to the area’s low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) have called for all measures to be removed.

Members of Accessible Corstorphine for Everyone (ACE) told councillors the measures should only be reinstated if they were backed by a “clear majority” in a “binding consultation”.

They also condemned vandals who destroyed a bus gate camera set up as part of the trial scheme and spray-painted ‘NO LTN’ on a wall beside it last month, which police are continuing to investigate.

In a deputation to the Transport and Environment Committee they said that traffic restrictions introduced to stop motorists rat-running through residential streets were an “affront to democracy” and had resulted in “unprecedented congestion” including outside the local primary school.

Peter Roberts, who spoke at the meeting alongside two others from the group, said: “We are here to ask this committee to reverse the LTN imposed on Corstorphine under an experimental traffic order, and thereafter to only replace it with other measures if there is a clear majority approval under a binding consultation.

“Whilst the aims of the LTN can be supported by everyone, in reality it is achieving the opposite of these aims, whilst causing huge cost and disruption.

“Public opinion has been clear and consistent throughout – there was no need for change. The answer is not more restrictions, but rather a return to the status quo which the vast majority found satisfactory.

“It is achieving the opposite of its aims and it is an affront to democracy.”

The LTN was launched in May for a six-month trial, which the council has the power to extend to 18 months, in an effort to create a “safer and more comfortable environment”. However it has proved controversial amongst some who argue the local authority has acted against the views of residents and that the scheme does not benefit anyone.

Work on the second phase of the programme which includes widening footways and reducing crossing distances is already underway.

Backlash to the changes escalated last month when the bus gate introduced at Manse Road’s junction with the High Street to give priority to buses cycles and taxis at peak times was cut down. It has since been replaced.

The vandals, who also spray-painted ‘NO LTN’ and defaced road signs explaining the different restrictions, caused £6,000 of damage and have not yet been identified by the police.

Councillor Scott Arthur, convener of the committee, said he was aware of some people in a private Facebook group run by ACE “encouraging illegal activity” and asked for their response to posts which had “celebrated or tried to justify” the vandalism.

Jackie Connor replied: “We obviously strongly condemn what’s been done.

“We’re trying, we’re still removing posts. We’ve got evidence that there’s been a number of posts removed.

“We’re trying the best we can but we can’t be responsible for what other people are posting on the internet.”

A written deputation submitted by pro-LTN group Low Traffic Corstorphine said it was “incredibly disappointed to see the graffiti and dangerous vandalism in the area which undermines the Corstorphine Connections LTN trial measures”.

It added: “Through the defacing of signage, walls, planters and causing expensive and dangerous damage by cutting down the pole which holds the equipment for monitoring the bus gate, the perpetrators are wasting precious council resources as well as jeopardising the safety of those living in or visiting the area. We hope that the Police are successful in apprehending whoever is responsible for this criminal damage.

“We believe that there has been a genuine and sustained effort to engage with residents and local interest groups over the last two years to develop plans prior to undertaking the project trial.

“It has been consistently demonstrated that there are issues with intrusive traffic and high traffic volumes in the area and the community have been asking for this to be addressed for decades.”

The council said: “An Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) for Corstorphine Connections was implemented on 24 May 2023 following a Committee decision on 19 August 2021. The Order can be in place for up to 18 months, with public consultation being incorporated within the first six months of the scheme.”

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