New hope for car park site

Residents (left to right) William Leitch, Anne Nelson, Christine Bow and Tom Bow at the eyesore Shieldmuir site
Residents (left to right) William Leitch, Anne Nelson, Christine Bow and Tom Bow at the eyesore Shieldmuir site

Exasperated Shieldmuir residents could finally see a resolution to the 10-year Excelsior Street car park saga in January.

Waste ground beside a modern homes development created by Taylor Wimpey was originally set to be converted to a landscaped car park serving the nearby railway halt around a decade ago.

After years of inaction a revised plan was lodged two years ago, but it stalled when the council, the builders and Network Rail were unable to agree.

Campaigning local residents - who say they’re forced to leave their cars in the street - staged a renewed bid to win progress in the summer.

And last month residents’ group chairman Tom Bow complained that despite a further meeting involving all interested parties the process still appeared deadlocked.

However local councillor Gary O’Rorke says new moves have persuaded him that “the end is in sight”.

Under the new scheme Taylor Wimpey would create the a new access road and car park (as it has always said it would), while Network Rail would take over its maintenance.

The new plan would create a car park fully covered by CCTV, and - says Councillor O’Rourke - could lever the creation of a roundabout, which in turn would bring bus access to the area.

The council has issued neighbourhood notifications for a new plan, and it will be considered at the next available opportunity - which could be in January.

Councillor O’Rorke said: “I have spent a lot of time going through the detail and one of the issues appeared to be that council policy will not allow it to adopt an access road if it does not have homes at either end - and this site doesn’t.

“However the various council officials involved have been keen to see a resolution, and the roads issue won’t now be an obstacle.”

He added: “I think it’s fair to say the plan is back on track.

“We also have the opportunity to think ahead a bit and consider a roundabout, which would allow bus access.

“It’s now possible to say ‘we will get there’ - and I’m optimistic the residents will get what they have been waiting for.”