Lamppost in the middle of new Leith Walk cycle lane

A new cycle lane on Leith Walk on the pavement which has a lamp post in the middle of it. Picture; Greg Macvean
A new cycle lane on Leith Walk on the pavement which has a lamp post in the middle of it. Picture; Greg Macvean
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HOW many council bosses does it take to remove a lamppost?

Judging by this one on Leith Walk, that could well turn out to be one of the great philosophical questions of our time.

A lamppost left in the middle of a brand new cycle path between McDonald Road and Shrubhill Lane has been attracting baffled looks from passers-by.

And social media users have been quick to paste bungling workmen for what seems, on the face of it, a pretty dim move.

But city chiefs insist no mistake has been made – and that the apparent blunder is all part of their overall plan.

They explained a contractor would remove the lamppost in the New Year alongside others in the area, after the “festive embargo” on roadworks came to an end.

What’s more, they said, the tarmac recently laid down is only temporary – and will be covered with a “distinctive red chip surface” early next year.

Workmen will return to the site to smooth it all over in 2017.

Transport leader Lesley Hinds said: “This cycleway is still under construction as part of the wider Leith Programme public realm improvements and the path is currently for pedestrians only.

“For consistency and cost effectiveness, all lighting columns, including the one in question, will be relocated to their new sites by our contractor in the New Year, once the festive embargo has passed.

“The section of protected cycleway between Pilrig Street and McDonald Road, which will be finished with a distinctive red chip surface, is due to open to cyclists in spring 2017.”

But not everyone is convinced the council’s on top of things.

Chris Hellawell, founder of the Edinburgh Tool Library – a charity devoted to sharing DIY tools in a bid to encourage sustainability – works out of the nearby police box.

He said the council’s explanation raised the question: “Why have they surfaced that whole area to go back and do it again?”

He added: “We run out of the police box, and we’ve had our service disrupted for about 14 weeks now.

“We were told [the pavement] would initially be shut for four weeks. There’s been pavement laid and then taken up and laid again. From our perspective, we have had a drop-off in terms of membership.

“Obviously, the lamppost will be moved. I don’t think anyone thinks it’s going to be left there.

“I think what’s getting to a lot of people is the appearance of, ‘Oh, we’d forgotten about that. We’ll have to do it again.’”

He said his charity’s profile relied on passing trade from the street – something that the recent works had been blocking.

He added: “The local councillors have done their best. It’s just a shame it’s got to this point.”

City bosses admitted road works had been delayed due to “circumstances outside of their control”.

Hold-ups included mains replacement works being carried out by SGN further down the street – as well as Scottish Water sewer infrastructure works connected to housing development at Shrubhill.

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk