Response by the committee of the Stockbridge Colonies Residents’ Association
- 1. Although the Path is managed by the Parks Department of the Council, it does not seem to us to be a park in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a unique area of semi-wild natural beauty, which happens to be in the centre of the city. As such we would argue strongly that, rather than being treated as a park, it should continue to be maintained as an area of Natural Woodland
- The main footpath, which forms part of the Water of Leith Walkway, is a primary route through the area, and should be maintained as such, with the path surface kept in good condition (although we would not wish to see tarmac being laid) and the vegetation in the immediate surroundings maintained to enable walkers to pass with ease through a pleasant natural environment.
- This area is valued for its natural state and we believe that the Council should allow it to remain in that natural state rather than being subject to unnecessary development.
- The location and configuration of the Path are such that several parts of it (particularly Zones A, B and D) are very close to where people live, and have a direct impact on their daily lives. It is important, therefore, that plans for the management of the path pay particular attention to their views.
Whilst we consider that access should continue to be permitted in this area, we see no reason to change the current arrangements. Although there may be scope to install a couple of benches, and a discreetly placed litter bin, we would not wish to see any further developments such as picnic tables, which would drastically change the nature of this area. For the same reason we would not want to see the informal path surfaced, although regular mowing of the grass and regular pruning of the holly bushes would facilitate the access which people currently enjoy. We have serious concerns about the safety of removing the railing, which would bring little added value but would allow uncontrolled access from a very busy footpath to a very steep drop into the river.
For safety reasons we consider that the railings should remain around the triangle area, as removal would expose children in particular to the dangers of traffic on what can be a busy road. We consider that the grass should be mown regularly and would be happy to see some additional planting, but can see no reason for additional planting to screen Colonies residencies. We believe that the number of benches in this area are of sufficient quantity and are in the right location but feel that there would be a great benefit in changing the direction that they are facing so that, rather than facing Reid Terrace, they each faced up and down the river. This would provide people using them with a greatly improved view (of the castle and the river) and also enhance the privacy of residents in Reid Terrace.
We consider that this area should be left in its current state, with access permitted, the holly trees pruned, and the grass mowed as it currently is. There may be a value in screening the substation using some form of natural planting, but we would not want it to substantially change the nature of this area.
This is an area which is particularly valued by Colonies residents and we believe that it should be left largely as it is, with minimum change, in a semi-wild state, attractive to wildlife (plants as well as birds and animals).
For this reason we believe that the wooden fence should be retained (and repaired), since, although it does not totally prevent access, as the ‘desire-line paths’ indicate, it does direct most people up the slope onto the formal path.
Should the fence be removed, the area should be left open with no formal route established.
Most people who will respond to this consultation will not have any knowledge of the serious anti-social behaviour that occurred when the Council previously established a formal path through this area. We consider therefore that the Council should pay particular attention to those Colonies residents who live close to this area and have direct experience of the previous problems.
As elsewhere we would like to see this area largely left in its current semi-wild state. Consequently we do not think that any new path should be created. Any management of this banking should aim to keep it in as natural a state as possible, and we are happy for decisions about planting to be made as they currently are in conjunction with FoRP.
We are happy for this area to continue to be managed by the council in conjunction with FoRP, keeping the laurel under control and planting native trees and shrubs as appropriate.
We have no strong views on this area and are happy for it to remain in its current state.