Monday, 21 March 2016

Skelf bike park meets some opposition

After several years of planning and fundraising the local project to create a bike park in the largely waste ground beside Braidwood Gate, the first stage of the project is now at last under way.  Seventy or so generally small and semi mature trees have been cleared in preparation for work to lay the bike tracks later this year.  (Around 120 replacement trees are to be planted as part of the planning permission granted.  The clearing was done before the end of February in order to avoid the nesting season.)

Here is an early map of the site proposals.  There have been local surveys and consultations over the last three/four years, a couple (or was it three) open days about the plans as well as articles in the Evening News  (eg here) and features on STV and the BBC.  There have been presentations to the Southside Association and leaflets at the nearby Crags Sports Centre as well as lamppost notification and over a hundred neighbour notification letters. And this is my fourth post on the subject on this blog.

But some people have been missed by this publicity, activity and consultation and have mounted a campaign against the project.  You can see the details here in this article.  I have spent some time with some of the protesters, explaining the planning and consultation processes which have been undertaken and providing background information.

I pass by the site often (Braidwood Gate runs from St Leonards to the Dumbiedykes) and have at times checked the wooded area where I have found mattresses, a tent, much rubbish and drugs paraphernalia. There is certainly a risk of anti-social behaviour being associated with the bike park - but there is already evidence of that without the bike park.  And the project is set to provide open access to an area which has been underused and, in places, unpleasant.  It is just outside the boundary of Holyrood Park and dog walkers are amongst the current frequent users.

I am guilty (in the eyes of some) of lending my support to the project as I think it will be of benefit to those who use it.  It is a project driven by local people and will benefit local people as well as encouraging an active lifestyle and bike skills.  

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