Cultural managements

Campaign launched to save historic Leith Bridge designated as a cultural monument by Google

The closed Lindsay Road Bridge in Leith, Edinburgh

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Structural safety concerns led to the closure of the Lindsay Road Bridge, which was closed to traffic and pedestrianized decades ago. It has since become the primary transit route for residents of North Fort Street to Lindsay Road, who now have to detour over a notorious footbridge to reach local shops and bus services.

The bridge, which is also featured in the 1975 BBC One Play For Today, Just Another Saturday landmark, also rose to fame as a community work of art earlier this year when its panels were painted in the colors ” rainbow ‘pride flags.

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Roisin Therese with his partner Toby Saltonstall with the prize for the transformation of the Leith Bridge into a community work of art

Leading the campaign, Roisin Therese, along with his partner Toby Saltonstall, runs the nearby Dreadnought Pub, which also uses the bridge as a beer garden.

Ms Therese said: ‘Council informed me last week that they would be closing the pedestrian bridge at the top of North Fort Street due to the poor condition of the section between the middle piers. They said they would put up a fence to close the bridge for public safety reasons “until a better solution is found.”

“Since last week, some barriers have been erected. Unfortunately, the pedestrian detour takes people to the old railway line which is just not safe, especially during the dark winter months. It is also much more complicated for wheelchair users / people with strollers. It is very poorly lit and often the site of many antisocial behaviors.

Ms. Thérèse considers that the detour presents an unacceptable risk for those who are forced to use it.

She explains, “The advice has not been clear on the plans for repairs or when they are likely to be undertaken. In the meantime, I think there is a serious risk to public safety as long as they are supposed to go down this route. Already, I have seen several people choose to pass the barriers to take the best-lit road.

Such actions have already led to an accident in which an elderly person was injured after a fall and had to be helped at home, she claims.

“I also saw people climbing up the side of the bridge to get through the barriers and last week an elderly man fell and hit his head on the road trying to get through the barrier rather than using the barrier. the underpass … Obviously, the situation is very unsatisfactory, while both options are very dangerous.

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The situation prompted Ms Thérèse to send an email to the Structures Department of Edinburgh City Council, highlighting the importance of the bridge to the community and their business, especially in the context of we restricting numbers to l ‘inside the premises to prevent the spread of the Covid’.

In the email, Ms Therese, who is also the artist responsible for the bridge’s vibrant color palette, writes: “The Pride Bridge is a community work of art that means a lot to many people in the community. It was created by a team of volunteers made up of representatives from a number of local and national LGBT + organizations as well as local community groups, neighbors and school children.

“It won an award from a national LGBT + magazine and was submitted for the Queer Art Prize. The Pride Bridge is a beacon of inclusiveness that lets everyone who crosses it on entering Leith know they are welcome This bridge has an importance that goes far beyond being a simple pedestrian route.

Addressing the safety of the current detour, she writes: “There is anti-social activity there almost every night – throwing glass bottles at people, intimidation and sexual harassment.

She adds: “One of our neighbors recently had to administer CPR to someone who had overdosed on heroin that he was blatantly injecting himself along the way. I am also aware of the assaults, the assaults. physical and intimidating behavior.

‘The closure of the bridge means it is now the only way for people to get from the residential area around North Fort Street to Lindsay Road.’

In response, Council confirmed that the detour route will be replaced by the old Lindsay Road once streetcar work allows pedestrians and plans are in place to increase lighting brightness at the current detour.

A Council spokesperson said: “We appreciate the importance of this bridge to the local community and the Dreadnought Pub, but unfortunately we have had no choice but to close it due to deterioration. important. Closure is a last resort, to protect public safety.

“As we previously advised the management of the Dreadnought Pub, this bridge would eventually be closed due to its age. We are working to find a solution as quickly as possible, but this is a large and expensive project and should be prioritized over several other projects of this magnitude across the city.

“We have made every effort to conserve the exterior seating of the pub as much as possible by limiting the closure to the center span of the bridge and have had correspondence with management since before the closure.

“The current detour route is in place to avoid tram works, but it will be changed as soon as they are completed early next year. In the meantime, we have made arrangements to increase the lighting on the detour road, which is the only alternative, to make people feel safer.

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