THE pavement outside Scotland’s answer to Downing Street has been branded a terrible eyesore.
Historic Bute House – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s official residence in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square – is visited by business big-wigs, international high-flyers and world leaders.
New PM Theresa May gingerly skipped into the city centre property earlier this month for a post-Brexit summit.
She would have been forgiven for opening talks on the state of the pavement outside, which has been branded “horrendous” by heritage groups.
Marion Williams, of the Cockburn Association, said: “It’s not just parts of Charlotte Square that are horrendous. There are many other parts of Edinburgh, including the Royal Mile, that should be dealt with.
“The council will tell you they don’t have the money, but we need to find funding from somewhere.
“We are encouraging people to look up and admire the buildings, but they need to watch where they put their feet.”
A recent picture of Theresa May arriving at Bute House shortly after becoming PM shows just how higgledy-piggledy the large paving slabs outside have become.
Safety experts have called for immediate work to spruce them up. A Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents spokesman said: “Pedestrians can trip on pavement surfaces very easily and, all too often, falls on pavements and footways mean people need medical or hospital treatment.
“A simple trip can cause serious, long-term injuries. Proper pavement maintenance and prompt repairs may prevent people being injured, and save the health service a huge amount of money.”
In January 2003, then-First Minister Jack McConnell had to be taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after slipping outside Bute House on ice.
The pavement had not been gritted, but no complaint was made to Edinburgh City Council.
In stark contrast, a small fortune has been spent to keep Downing Street spick and span.
More than £1 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on repairs and maintenance of the famous street in 2007-08.
The work was undertaken to ensure the estate was at the right standard for its Grade 1-2 listed status required by English Heritage.
Despite criticism of the condition of Charlotte Square, Edinburgh City Council defended its maintenance record.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener, said: “We’re working very hard to make Edinburgh’s roads and pavements as safe, well-maintained and accessible
as possible for all residents and visitors, and each year we invest many millions of pounds. The council will be investing a total of £2.32 million in capital footway works for 2016/7 improving the network.”
Charlotte Square was designed in 1792 by Robert Adam, one of Scotland’s greatest architects, although he died before it was completed.
The maintenance of the five-bedroom Bute House, which is number 6 Charlotte Square, is met from public funds.
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