Residents of Anchorfield tenement in Edinburgh were hastily evacuated last month due to serious safety concerns arising from structural damage, sparking calls for an investigation into the potential impact of nearby tram works on the building’s stability.
The evacuation, prompted by the discovery of a hairline crack compromising the structural integrity of the Newhaven building, necessitated the swift departure of inhabitants from its 12 flats within just one hour.
Amidst speculation surrounding the cause of the crack, attention has turned to the tram tracks laid nearby on Lindsay Road as part of the ongoing tram line extension project through Leith. A local councillor has suggested that the tram project “might have contributed” to the damage experienced by the Anchorfield tenement. However, uncertainty shrouds this assertion, highlighting the imperative for a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
The councillor is set to table a motion at the forthcoming full council meeting, slated for February 8th, urging officials to scrutinise any communications between Edinburgh Council and the Trams to Newhaven team. The objective is to ascertain whether the construction of the tram line has had any bearing on the stability of the affected building. Additionally, the motion seeks clarification on when residents and businesses can expect to return to their premises, as well as details pertaining to insurance coverage for the tram project, including settled and outstanding claims from residents.
In response to the evacuation, Edinburgh Council reiterated its commitment to prioritising community safety, emphasising that, given the “serious concerns about the structure of the building”, evacuating households was deemed the safest course of action.
However, criticism has been levelled against the council by residents who lamented what they described as “utterly dreadful” communication regarding the situation. Initial concerns were raised in early December upon the discovery of the crack, with residents informed that scaffolding would eventually be required to address the issue. Yet, there was a lack of subsequent updates until the abrupt evacuation notice was issued in January.
In the motion to the City Chambers, the councillor expressed disappointment over the handling of the situation, highlighting the disparity between the initial notification of issues to the council and the subsequent evacuation order. Residents, it was noted, were provided insufficient time to prepare, exacerbating the already distressing circumstances.
As the investigation unfolds and discussions ensue at the council meeting, stakeholders await clarity on the factors contributing to the structural damage of the Anchorfield tenement. The outcome of these deliberations will not only determine the future of the affected residents but also shed light on the broader implications of infrastructure projects on urban communities, underscoring the importance of proactive communication and accountability in safeguarding public safety and well-being.