Pigeon Street

Friday, March 16th, 2012 @ 6:43PM

It’s the little things that annoy people.

Over-flowing rubbish bins, the length of time the green man flashes at a set of traffic lights, potholes. And rightly so, there is no issue too big or indeed too small to take to your local politicians. It’s part of the reason I’ve been actively pursuing a programme of roving surgeries and why I feel the need to raise this issue in a blog.

Here’s a picture of Abbeyhill Bridge, just minutes from the Parliament building. Hundreds of people walk under this bridge to and from their work each day (including admittedly, me.) It has been infested with pigeons nesting in the rafters of the bridge for as long as I’ve known it. And where there’s pigeons - there’s poo. Lots of it - everywhere.

Since my election I’ve been mediating a battle between Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council over whose responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, following complaints from numerous constituents. Much of the correspondence can be found in my  Mailroom. Eventually, there was a breakthrough and Network Rail agreed to “pigeon proof” the bridge - (my technical term, not there’s) whilst undertaking wider work. Over the Christmas period there was lots of promising movement on this, with the turn-off towards Abbey Lane closed at nights for a few weeks to allow the broader structural work on the bridge to take place. Suddenly it all stopped about 4 weeks ago.

When I asked Network Rail why the work had stopped, they said that the Council hadn’t granted them a long enough road closure notice in order to get the work done and we were back to stalemate again. The pigeons understandably, having been made homeless, decided to move back in and have been defecating with a vengeance since. So much so the path is slippery and stinks – it’s disgusting.

 (Photo evidence provided – and apologies to the man who walked past me under the bridge when I was taking this – he must think I’m off my head.)

I have again written to the Council asking them to take the necessary steps which allow Network Rail to get on with the job of fixing the bridge, and in the meantime, to power wash the pavements so that it’s not quite so disgusting in the short term.

I understand from emails from constituents today that they’ve taken that on board and blasted the path this afternoon.

I share this story just to demonstrate the frustrations that politicians face just trying to sort simple things. Things which can materially impact on the mood and happiness of our city’s citizens, the little things that can really matter.

UPDATE: April 2 - 2012 - Edinburgh City Council get in touch to see the work will recommence post election, on the 5th of May.

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