I was interested to read your article on the fire at the Bonnington Bridge Bar (Issue 255, p.1).
I bought the property as a closed pub with a chequered history. Its past included go-go dancers, lock-ins and ultimately a cannabis farm. I saw this as a great opportunity to create a bar restaurant, enhanced by the urban river setting. The Planning Department was more than helpful, which is more than can be said for Building Standards and Highways Departments.
The first sign of trouble occurred when, after spending a five-figure sum on removing rubbish from the bank of the Water of Leith, an article appeared in a local newspaper accusing me of being the person who dumped it!
Next, the Highways Department made an appearance, claiming to own the vaults under the road, and the wall adjacent. After asking for the Department’s title deed – a reply to which I am still waiting – it turned out they were liable for the pavement, which was in an unsafe condition. Indeed, they have now replaced it.
I am still awaiting sight of their deeds to ascertain if they have any ownership rights.
I have also been unable to determine if they have a right of access for their walkway.
A senior Building Standards officer would not grant a ‘determination’, raising concerns over fire escape issues, although their own fire officer didn’t notice a problem.
All these delays have led to the situation we now find ourselves in. What could have been an attractive and vibrant access point to the walkway looks likely to remain an eyesore for several more years.
(The Vaults, South Niddry Street)