Update on Colinton Dell’s Closed Bridges

Below is a briefing from the Council on the closed bridges in Colinton Dell. The history and wildlife in Colinton Dell make it my favourite part of the Water of Leith Walkway. Generations of local people have used Colinton Dell to restore their wellbeing, but lockdown and the fantastic Colinton Tunnel Mural means that it is now more popular than ever. Whilst the costs of repairing the bridges and dealing with the landslip is not trivial, the Council really does have a responsibility to restore easy access to the area.  I know Council officers are frustrated by the situation, but I feel ashamed telling residents that cuts mean the Council can’t do better. Indeed, I was bitterly disappointed that Sustrans blocked the use of Spaces for People funding as I feel this could be a “Spaces for Exercise” project which would be widely welcomed and come with no disruption.

Briefing
With regard to the Pipeline bridge, colleagues in Structures are looking at this with a view to advise on potential options including, the possibility of building the path up and installing a shorter span bridge or a style over the pipe.  We are also working with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust to investigate options for volunteer involvement which, if possible, may help to keep the costs down.  However, the estimates I have been given suggest the cost is still going to be in region of £20,000.  The Water of Leith Conservation Trust have also approached Scottish Water, who are undertaking work in the area, to ask if they would provide any funding to this community project. [Scott Arthur – I asked Scottish Water about this and they declined].

With regard to the wooden bridge over the river at Redhall Weir we are continuing to seek funding for this.  Again, colleagues in Structures are investigating material options for this bridge however, my understanding is that we are still looking at a cost of over £40,000 and therefore considerable funding will be required.

We have investigated the possibility of obtaining funding through the Spaces for People (SfP) project for one or both of these bridges, unfortunately SfP funding is not available for this – Sustrans gave us the steer some time ago that these projects would not be eligible for this funding as they were neither temporary or immediate in nature.  A more recent response from SfP when asked if there was ‘any merit in exploring whether we can access some of the SfP money currently being used to develop cycle provision on Lanark Road?’ stated:

“I am afraid that, as this funding is part of the Spaces for People grant fund we are receiving from Sustrans, and advice they have previously given would still apply here. The current allocation we have against the Lanark Road scheme is fully committed to delivering the changes to Lanark Road and would not be able to cover any additions of this nature, especially at the amounts you have provided. An additional £60k would be approximately a 40% increase in the value of the Lanark Road scheme. While I can see that the Lanark Road Scheme, and these bridge repairs/replacements share some of the same rationale, and can certainly see the value in repairing the bridges in the context of Covid-19, I don’t think that the SfP budget would be able to support this. The only way this could change would be if Sustrans decided that these bridge improvements were eligible – however the SfP team would then need to consider whether they represented the best use of the council’s limited allocation of funds which is already fully accounted for, meaning that any use of SfP budget towards these bridges would likely require the removal of other schemes from the programme.”

With regard to the bridge closures in the Dells, we understand the importance of these routes to the local community however, we will not be able to progress works to re-open these bridges until we have secured the appropriate funding.

The steps to/from Dell Road are closed due to a landslip.  We have appointed a geotechnical expert consultant to undertake a condition survey and report which will include options for proposed remedial works, including associated costs.  This is the first step in understanding what will be required to stabilise the slope and reopen the path.  We met with the Consultants, following their initial survey work, on 22nd October, we are now waiting on clarification regarding a few points and costed options for remedial works.  We had hoped faster progress would have been made however, this has been hindered due to staff resources and sickness.  We can only apologise for the delay and will get back to you with a fuller response in due course.

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