Council “failing to learn” from Liberton High death

Angry residents have accused the city council of failing to learn lessons from the Liberton High School disaster after 
condemning the “dangerous condition” of a collapsing wall next to a busy main road.
The collapsed wall. Picture: Neil HannaThe collapsed wall. Picture: Neil Hanna
The collapsed wall. Picture: Neil Hanna

The crumbling boundary wall at Inch Park – which separates the green space from Old Dalkeith Road – has partially collapsed in an area opposite the entrance to Craigmillar Castle Park Cemetery, leaving rocks littered on the narrow pavement below.

Pictures taken yesterday morning show huge pieces of stone left strewn across the public walkway and a gaping dent in the wall where large chunks have come loose and fallen off.

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Now concerned residents have lashed out at the council for failing to learn crucial lessons from the collapse of a gym wall at Liberton High in April last year, which led to the death of 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.

One resident said: “A large part of the wall has collapsed on to the narrow pavement below and is dangerously near the main road. People use this collapsed wall as a shortcut route.

“Other large, dislodged parts of stone on top of the wall are just waiting to fall on to the head of some unsuspecting passer-by. This wall has been in a dangerous condition since long before the Liberton wall collapse last year.

“Has the council learned nothing from the Liberton High School tragedy?”

Scott Neill, who lives in nearby Glenallan Drive and acts as secretary for Gilmerton and Inch community council, said the wall was frequently damaged by vandals, but said the city council was doing all it could to address the situation.

He said: “It’s well and truly vandalised on a regular basis. It’s a fairly regular occurrence unfortunately. A lot of the debris comes down on the park side, and on the road side of the wall it tends to lie in the gutter. But the council are very diligent in dealing with it – they never let it get too bad.

“The neighbourhood manager and the environment manager are both very conscientious and repair it at regular intervals. It’s very rarely let go for too long, but a few months will go by and the same thing will happen again.

“I think it’s used as a shortcut and youngsters remove stones to make it easier for them to get over the wall. They are cutting through the park that way. It’s just annoying that it’s council resources being wasted, but I’m confident they are dealing with it.”

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The council insisted an ongoing monitoring process was carried out by its parks team to ensure walls and other structures were kept in good condition.

A spokeswoman said barriers had now been erected at the Inch Park wall and any loose debris removed, with a contractor booked in to fix the structure as soon as possible.

She added: “This is an isolated issue and a recent inspection showed that there are no problems regarding the structural integrity of the wall.”