A local resident has been left alarmed and exasperated by damage to his building which he suspects has been caused by tramwork-related vibration.
Alex Poole lives in a second-floor flat on Haddington Place. In March this year he noticed a new crack on a recently painted interior wall at the front of his home. He raised the issue with Trams to Newhaven (TtN), but as the crack didn’t get any worse he thought little of it.
Then, in June, a 7 cm piece of masonry broke off the building’s exterior and landed outside the entrance to the shared stairwell below. At ground level here there is also outdoor seating for a local café.
‘That, to me, was a massive issue,’ says Poole. He contacted TtN again. Staff there said they would forward his details to the Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service (ESRS), the Council section offering free advice and information to assist private owners to repair shared or common areas of their property.
ESRS representatives visited the building without notifying Poole, and later emailed to say there was ‘no imminent risk’ to health and safety.
On 10 August another piece of masonry, from a different part of the building, dropped off and landed beside the entrance. ESRS staff again visited the property without meeting Poole or examining the wall from his flat. This time they assured him by email that ‘everything is in limit’.
Poole understands that maintaining the property is the responsibility of householders, but he’s unhappy nonetheless. ‘I’m sitting around being shaken daily by tramworks, with bits of my home falling off, and no one at TtN, ESRS, or Edinburgh Building Standards seems to be taking it seriously.
‘Ideally, I'd like someone to come and visit, stand in my front room, and acknowledge that a 200-year-old building is indeed shaking.
‘I want to understand where they take their vibration readings from, and I want them to investigate whether these vibrations are compromising the structure.’ Bland assurances and directions to visit the TtN health-and-safety dashboard don’t cut it.
Poole is now contacting local elected representatives and the New Town & Broughton Community Council in search of help. We’ll let you know how he gets on.
In the meantime, if you’re dissatisfied with some aspect of TtN’s work, its complaints procedure is available here.