Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fency that !

It's a problem which has plagued council officials for months and ended up costing almost £13,000 in public money.

But despite their best endeavours - and the high cost - there is still no peace for the people who live next to Edinburgh's "whistling" fence.

The trouble centres on a 5ft-high metal fence that was put up around Gracemount's Fala Court more than a year ago as part of "environmental improvements" to the area.

Weary residents complained last January that the fence gave a high-pitched whine during strong winds, keeping them awake at night.

Since then, the council has made two attempts to stop the whistling, by fixing metal bars and rubber strips to the fence. But residents say they are still being kept awake at night.

Fala Court resident Mary Anne McMillan, 20, said: "I am on the 11th floor - well away from the fence - and it is still loud enough to keep me awake at night.

"They have put something through the metal of the fence to stop it from vibrating and making a noise, but it is still just as bad.

"It is only really bad when it is windy, but living where we do, next to Gracemount Park, it is windy a lot of the time. Everyone is really badly disturbed by it."

Another resident, who lives a quarter of a mile away, on Carnbee Dell, said he and his neighbours were also disturbed by the whistling.

He said: "I can hear this piercing whistling noise - it's unbelievable. I have said right from the start of all this that the fence should come down. Sometimes it can go on a few nights in a row, which is just awful - you get no sleep."

The cost of the work has left opposition politicians astounded.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, housing spokesman for the council's Liberal Democrats, said: "This has to be the craziest thing I have ever heard.

"If you held a competition to think of ways of wasting £13,000, you couldn't come up with anything better - apart from perhaps burning it."

Councillor Jason Rust, the city's Tory housing spokesman, added: "It seems ludicrous that they have spent such a huge amount of money on it and the problem still hasn't been resolved."

A council spokeswoman said: "After initial work to rectify the problem, further work was carried out last week. Two strengthening metal bars with rubber strips have been strapped to the railings to cut the reverberations. We will continue to monitor the area around the fence, in particular during high winds, to ensure that the problem has been resolved. We are confident that the additional measures will bring a lasting solution to the problems local residents have faced regarding the fence."

She added: "Almost 300 metres of fence were affected by the problem and the total cost of the work, including manufacturing and installation (of the metal bars and rubber strips), was £12,801.49.

Council leader Donald Anderson said: "It is one of the most bizarre things I think I have ever come across in my time on the council. The same type of fence has been put up in other places and there hasn't been a problem. It must be something strange with the wind in that particular area.

"We will be considering the future of the flats in the capital budget, so we may have to wait a month or two to see what happens to them generally before we take any action to replace the fence."


yellowdog granny said...

that is the weirest thing i have ever heard of...a whistling dont they just ah....take it down and put up a wooden fence...????

dom said...

Matbe they should just "re-tune" it to play the wall street shuffle ?