Botched tram works leave phone box sitting in main road

By Rory Reynolds

A PHONE box has been left in the middle of a busy road after tram works moved the pavement five feet further back.

The road has already been resurfaced around the smashed-up BT box, bizarrely leaving it sitting on an island on the road.

Furious locals have branded the situation “preposterous” after being told that it will cost £20,000 to remove the monstrosity.

Workers on the Edinburgh Tram Link resurfaced the road at Leith Walk but instead of removing the box, they simply laid around it.

The road has had to be closed off by barriers, pushing a bus stop into a bus lane and slowing traffic. Continue reading

Edinburgh drivers facing 500 road digs a day

By SHAUN MILNE

MOTORISTS are being driven mad in Scotland’s capital city– by almost 500 sets of road works.

The astonishing figure, revealed by Scottish Roadworks Register, show that 493 sets of road works are underway across Edinburgh just now.

And city cabbies say the works are the “worst ever”. Continue reading

Red alert for Eagle Couriers as success drives expansion plans

By SHAUN MILNE

A SCOTS courier firm faces rebranding its entire fleet – because of a Europe wide shortage of RED coloured vans.

Eagle Couriers has been scouring the motor markets for weeks trying to source rare red coloured delivery vans after landing £3million in new contracts from communications giants BT and NHS Scotland.

But so far the firm – which has transport bases in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bathgate – is being offered only tradition white alternatives.

Figures suggest the worldwide credit crunch means there are something like 23,000 white vans lying unsold on forecourts around Europe.Eagle Courier Van

Yet hardly any dealers have coloured vans available – let alone red.

Rather than forking out on what could prove to be costly re-sprays to match their fleet, Eagle Couriers say they are now considering even more drastic measures, changing altogether.

Livery

Director Jerry Stewart said: “It’s incredible.

“If we can’t source red vans soon – or if we don’t hear of red vans being available – then we may have to look at changing the fleet over to another colour.

“Apparently there’s something like 23,000 white vans lying unsold in Europe, so that may be the way forward.

“But it would be a shame to lose our distinctive livery as it’s built up a lot of goodwill over the 30 years we’ve been in business.” Continue reading

Fire brigade get new zapping device

By Cara Sulieman

A SCOTTISH fire service has brought in a new tool in the fight against hoax calls – technology that “zaps” phones and disables them.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue have been working with phone companies and have come up with a variety of ways to prevent the dangerous – and costly – prank calls.

When a mobile phone is registered to someone then they can be traced and reported to the police.

But some pay-as-you-go mobiles aren’t registered to anyone – and this is where the zapping technology will come in handy.

Continue reading

Council bans the Saltire

James Blair with banned Saltire flag

By Alexander Lawrie

A PATRIOTIC Scot has been banned from flying the Saltire in his own back garden.

James Blair, 54, from New Aberdour, Aberdeenshire, wanted to nail the 7ft flag and pole to his garden fence.

But barmy council bosses are demanding cash from the former Royal Navy hero to get planning consent for his flag.

The nationalist even asked permission from his English neighbour to erect the standard and has been stunned to learn he will have to fork out £145 to go ahead.

He said: “I’ve wanted to put a Saltire in my garden for a while now because I’ve seen a few people in the area doing it and it looks really good.

“I didn’t want to cause offence so I went through all the usual procedures like asking my neighbours if they minded, and also getting in touch with the council just to let them know my plans.

“Incredibly, the council has written back demanding £145 from me and it is my English neighbours that were totally delighted with my plans.

“It just seems crazy to me, it’s not as if the flag pole is 20ft high.

“So, at the moment I’m stuck in a bit of limbo.

“The council is acting as if I want to rip up the roads around here. I’m just baffled by their awkward stance.”

Council officials have informed Mr Blair he will also have to receive permission from bodies such as BT and Scottish Hydro Electric if he wants to plant his flag.

Maureen Watt, MSP for North East Scotland, said: “I find it incredible that Aberdeenshire Council is choosing to place these kinds of obstacles in the way of somebody that wants to fly the flag during this year of Homecoming.

“First we had Lib Dem and Tory councillors in Aberdeenshire refusing to fly the Saltire from empty flagpoles this year and now this. It really seems as if some people are completely refusing to get into the spirit of Homecoming 2009.

“We should be encouraging people to celebrate Scottish culture as we welcome people from all over the world to Scotland, not penalising them for their initiative.

“I hope that common sense will prevail here, and Mr Blair will be able to fly his Saltire without the council penalising him for doing so.”

The ex-Navy serviceman had hoped to fly the flag in his garden and says he would have no problem if his neighbours decided to do the same.

He said: “I had the courtesy to ask my really friendly English neighbours if they minded, and of course they didn’t. In fact, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if they put up a St George’s flag in their garden.”

Aberdeenshire Council has told Mr Blair the £145 fee is non-negotiable and that he must pay it before planning permission is granted.

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The consequences of allowing anyone to do anything they like in terms of development are obvious.

“The erection of flagpoles can be quite complex and we follow national legislation in that regard.

“There are some instances where flagpoles need planning permission, depending on their height, though the Saltire itself would not require permission.

“Our planning service will happily offer advice on what requires permission if there is any doubt.”