Forth Bridge Experience: South Queensferry residents express safety concerns over parking plans

The Forth Bridge Experience will allow visitors to access a platform 110m above sea level – but South Queensferry residents have raised concerns (Photo courtesy of Network Rail)

 

Traffic congestion caused by a new tourist attraction on the Forth Bridge could lead to safety concerns in South Queensferry, local residents have said.

The Forth Bridge Experience was approved by Edinburgh Council earlier this week, but updated plans for the project came with a provision to reduce the number of parking spaces by half.

The community group Forth Bridge Experience Concerns says that the measure will contribute to more traffic congestion in the town as visitors to the attraction could be forced to park in narrow side streets if the reduced lot is full.

“We were just really disappointed,” campaigner Jeana Gorman told EN4 News. “We were there at the meeting and it sounded like they had real concerns about the car parking. South Queensferry has severe problems with parking, so we were concerned about that to start with.

“The condition they came back with was a new plan for the parking, basically halving the number of car spaces, so that’s just going to spill onto sides streets.

Gorman also claimed that despite Edinburgh Council encouraging people to use more environmentally means of travel, such as by bike, train or walking, it isn’t always possible for them to do so.

“People will chance it and bring their cars and there won’t be spaces, so they’ll park on side streets which will cause all sorts of safety concerns. If ambulances or something are trying to get through and the streets are busy, then they are not going to get through.”

The Forth Bridge Experience will see a bridge walk installed on the 130-year structure. Visitors will be able to access a platform over 100 meters above sea level. Plans will also see a visitor centre built on the South Queensferry side.

Edinburgh Council approved the plans at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday and were backed by planning convener Neil Gardner.

He said to EN4 News: “The committee added a number of conditions to the planning permission to ensure that road safety is protected and improved.”

“We are keen to encourage use of public transport, walking and cycling, whilst promoting visitor spend in Queensferry. The proposal includes welcome investment in public paths to the railway station and connections to the High Street through the rebuilding of Jacob’s Ladder and other improvements which will be useful for local residents and visitors alike.”

Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat was among those on the committee to vote against the plans.

“I regret that the Committee voted to reduce the parking numbers – reducing 30 parking spaces won’t save the planet but will increase the parking problems and have a negative impact on the lives of the residents,” Mowat told EN4 News.

“Councillors will all be familiar with the problems caused to residents and businesses from unrestricted parking and it is a nonsense to add to that problem when the negative impacts of a great new attraction could have been mitigated.”

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