Briefing – Three Problems on the Water of Leith Walkway


The closed path between Sunbury Bridge and the steps at Dean Path

May 2020 Update
The blog below is from January, I have now had this update from teh Council:

Unfortunately our funding application to the FCC Communities Foundation has been unsuccessful.  Obviously there is little we can progress at present however, later in the year (after the Covid-19 crisis) we will be investigating options and seeking funds elsewhere.  If anything, it is more likely that we will be able to obtain funding for the Pipeline Bridge in the first instance.  Due to the limited access and costs we may have to think differently for the bridge over the river at Redhall Weir.  Options which have been discussed include:

  1. Removing the bridge and replacing it with a downgraded structure i.e. a much narrower pedestrian only footbridge.
  2. Removing the bridge deck and replacing from one side part way across to create a view point in the middle of the river – initial thoughts are that this would not cost effective and we may be able to get a replacement bridge for around the same cost.
  3. Removing the bridge deck but not replacing it – obviously this is not a desirable option however, it depends on funding available.
  4. Leaving the bridge as a closed asset.  This would be far from ideal as the structure would remain an eyesore and a burden to continually check the barriers/signage, again not a desirable option.
  5. Prior to the installation of this bridge (which I am led to believe was the 1970’s) there were large boulders which people used as stepping stones.  This was mentioned to me by the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, after discussion it is thought this would not be safely achievable.
  6. I have also briefly discussed the potential for crowd funding with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust.  We are looking at a substantial amount of money to replace the bridge and I don’t know if this would be seen as achievable via crowd funding.

Please note no decisions have been made nor will they be made without further investigation and discussion later in the year.

January 2020 Blog
On the 31st of December 2019 the Evening News carried an article about the long-term closure of the Water of Leith path between Sunbury Bridge and the steps at Dean Path. In the article Ian Johnston made the point that:

“…the Water of Leith is a particularly wonderful part of Edinburgh – something I appreciated more on my return to the city – and it would be a terrible shame if the path continues to remain in its current truncated state for much longer.”

 I have spoken to Council’s Natural Heritage Officer about this and was given this response:

  1. The Council (“CEC”) has raised legal proceedings against a number of parties in respect of the landslip at the Dean Path.
  2. Before steps can be taken to reopen the path, the causes of the slippage require to be identified and measures to prevent further slippage implemented.
  3. Public safety and future amenity of the area remain paramount.
  4. CEC have authorised the use of funds to jointly meet the cost of specialist engineers to design and provide costings for the retaining works.
  5. Technical experts appointed by CEC and other parties respectively have now identified potential engineering solutions.
  6. Legal proceedings remain paused while parties explore resolution.
  7. Discussions are on-going with a view to agreeing these between CEC and the neighbouring owner(s).

So it looks like there is no immediate solution to the problem.


The Colinton Dell Closures

I also raised the complaints I have received about two closed bridges in Colinton Dell. Both are outside my Ward but lots of my constituents use them – below is the response I received from the Council:

“With regard to the two bridge closures in the Dells, referred to in points one and two of your email, we do not have a timescale for the reopening of these. However, I can confirm a grant application has been submitted to FCC Communities Foundation, included in the application is improvements to the path/steps/drainage on the access path to/from Dell Road (by Colinton Kirk), the installation of a new Pipeline Bridge, the removal and installation of a new bridge over the river parallel to Redhall Weir. The application should be considered by the Board of Directors on 04 March 2020 who will decide whether the project should be funded. A capital bid has also been applied for internally and we should receive an answer regarding any potential funding by the end of February 2020.”

So it looks like there is no immediate solution to these issues either. 


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