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Conservatory protest

The Grange Association Committee has voiced disappointment that Edinburgh Council Planning Committee recently approved the demolition of an attractive conservatory which is part of a B-listed villa at 31 Mansionhouse Road, and its replacement with a single-storey extension. Details of the application can be found on the Council’s planning portal on its website.

The Association’s objection and a representation was sent to local councillors by the Chair of the Association John Graham. Our Green councillor, Steve Burgess, asked the council ommittee to undertake a site inspection, but he was not supported by other councillors on the committee.

In the letter sent to councillors by Association Chair John Graham wrote: “I understand that the amended applications for consent to demolish the conservatory, erect an extension, and alter the listed building at 31 Mansionhouse Road are on the agenda for the Planning Committee next week.

“The Grange Association continues to believe that these should be refused, on the grounds that the loss of the conservatory and the building of an extension which will fill the gap between no 31 and the neighbouring villa will detract from the character of one of the key streets in the conservation area. We can see no compelling need for the development which would justify this loss.
Various arguments have been advanced against our position. It has been alleged that we have been unduly influenced by one member of our committee who is a neighbour. This is not the case: the proposal was considered by the full committee, and our stance has been reported in our newsletter and attracted no adverse comment.
“It has been alleged that the conservatory is largely a replacement of the Victorian original. That does not seem to us to be material: indeed if care was taken not long ago to recreate the Victorian original that seems to us to strengthen the case against destroying it now. It has been suggested that it is in poor condition, but failure to maintain listed buildings should not be allowed to be an excuse for demolition.
“It has also been pointed out that most of the original villas in this part of the street have been extended at some point in the past. That is true, but in our view strengthens the case, now that conservation area controls are in place, against interfering with one of those which is essentially intact.”

Squeeze on cyclists ?

Following several complaints about the new pedestrian island in Grange Road (near the entrance to Lover’s Loan),  a response has been issued by Paul Matthews of Road Safety City Development – Transport City of Edinburgh Council. The thrust of the issues revolved around cyclists getting “squeezed” as the road has become much narrowed.

Matthews says in a letter to the Grange Association: “This location was assessed as part of Road Safety’s Pedestrian Crossing Prioritisation Process, and ranked at number 15 in last year’s priority list for pedestrian crossing improvements.  This island was therefore designed to benefit the pedestrian movements as a priority.  By reducing the road widths this allows less crossing distance for pedestrians and therefore a safer crossing movement.  The resulting road widths available are now 3.8m in each direction – this does not allow scope to safely include the standard 1.2m cycle lanes whilst allowing traffic to safely pass.

“However, I understand that there was traffic management still on the carriageway around the works up until yesterday and this may have also affected the available road width. Furthermore the Cycling Team are considering the entire Grange Road route for improved cycle facilities that would include cycle lanes over its extents.  This is still at an early stage and no detailed proposals have been agreed.   Although the available road width at the new island does not allow cycle lanes directly at the site, marked cycle lanes on either approach will likely improve the drivers awareness of cyclists and allow the cyclists some priority at the island.

“In conclusion it is anticipated that with the traffic management now removed from the site, and as more drivers and cyclists become aware of the new island this will allow safer passing for cycles.  This area will be monitored and the marked cycle lanes along Grange Road will be further investigated by the Cycling Team.  It is also worth noting this area is proposed to be included in the South Central Edinburgh 20mph pilot zone, and the likely reduced speeds will further favour cyclists.”

Paul Matthews Road Safety City Development – Transport City of Edinburgh Council T: 0131 469 3700 e: paul.matthews@edinburgh.gov.uk

Seeking notable women

Girlguiding Scotland is working with Women’s History Scotland and the Glasgow Women’s Library to record memorials to women in Scotland. As such, we’re all tasked with finding out about local women, and if, or why, local place names, etc are named after them. We’re obviously very lucky in Edinburgh to have several notable females already known, but we’re keen to try and find out if there are any undiscovered – particularly in our local area – and wondered if Grange Association members or other members of the public may be able to help! Any local knowledge would be most appreciated.

CONTACT: Nicola Stewart reid_rainbows@yahoo.com

The last lap

The owners of the property which was ravaged by fire at the start of the year, hope to be living in their new home in March 2012.

Previously they gave an assurance to the Grange Association that the building would be restored according to the previously published and approved plans. At the moment work proeeeds to complete the restoration, for the second time around.

Val Buckley, one of the joint owners, said that the original renovation was within eight weeks of completion when disaster struck. Following the incident intruders (see below) struck and removed copper pipes and parts of the boiler and there have been other acts of vandalism including rocks thrown through newly installed windows at the front.

Around 35 firefighters were called to the detached stone-built single storey cottage at Dick Place and the corner of Lovers’ Loan in the early hours of 2 January, but they were unable to save the property from being ravaged.  Nobody was injured.

(3 January 2011, updated 27 January 2011, updated 16 February 2011)

The cold light of day: a scene of devastation
( 20 January 2011. Updated 3 February 2011)ADVICE TO HELP COMBAT HOUSEBREAKINGHow It Can Happen– Forcing open windows, grille gates or doors or entering via insecure doors and windows.- Cutting padlocks and grilles.- Gaining entry through the refuse chute, false ceiling or ventilation openings.- Gaining entry through neighbouring house/shop.- Gaining entry by using household tools / ladders left outside the house.Preventive Measures

– Lock all doors and windows when leaving the home unattended, even for a short time or whilst pottering around in the garden. Ensure your doors are locked at all times. It’s an idea to lock your door, even when within the property for extra security. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOORS UNLOCKED.

– If you reside within a flat, ensure that the main common stair door is secured at all times. Do not just buzz anyone into the stair, check who they are. Also, do not leave valuables unattended and insecure within the common stairwell.

– Keep large sums of cash in banks and expensive jewelleries in safe deposit boxes, keeping valuables, i.e laptops, wallets, car keys etc out of sight. It is not a good idea to leave car and house keys within a vestibule next to the front / rear doors of your property. Keep keys and wallets etc out of sight and take them upstairs with you when you go to bed at night.

– Do not hide keys under the doormat, in a flowerpot or on top of the electricity meter box outside the house.

– Do not leave garden tools / ladders lying around in your garden as these are potential tools to force entry to your property or that belonging to someone else. Keep these items locked away.

– Do not leave notes outside of the house announcing your absence from home.

– Leave a light and radio on at night to give an impression that the occupants are home.

– Cancel all deliveries (eg newspapers, magazines, etc.) when you are away from home for a few days.

– Change all locks when your house keys are lost or stolen.

– Install security alarm system. Ensure that it is tested periodically and in working condition. Also, using British Standard locks on doors and decent boundary fencing all hinder would be criminals getting into your property. For sheds, utilize shed alarms and a heavy-duty padlock.

– Switch on alarm system when house is left unattended; before retiring to bed; or in unoccupied rooms if the premise is huge even when the occupants are at home. Consider the use of security lights.

– Make sure you use all locks that are fitted on your doors, i.e yale and mortice together. Securing your door on the yale only is not sufficient as this can easily be overcome.

– Ask your immediate neighbours to keep an eye on your house while you are away.

– Keep your phone within easy reach, be contactable.

– Inform your local Police Station / local Safer Neighbourhood Team officer of your absence if you are away from home for a few days.


Who to contact: PC 5997 Janie Kay – janie.kay@lbp.pnn.police.uk PC 5903 Mike Louden – Michael.louden@lbp.pnn.police.uk Safer Neighbourhood Team St Leonards Police Station**

**Our Community Police Officers are now Janie Harman and Evelyn Hegarty

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