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Row over bill for access to train station

A ROW over banning cars from Waverley Station in Edinburgh has broken out after the council complained it would have to spend up to £1 million building new taxi ranks and drop-off points on neighbouring streets.

Vehicles were due to be barred from driving into Scotland's third-biggest rail station later this summer in order to make it less vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but the plans have been delayed because of ongoing negotiations with the City of Edinburgh Council. Lesley Hinds, the council's transport convener, said she had urged Network Rail to take a common sense approach following discussions over who should pay for the extra infrastructure that would be required.

As well as protesting about the cost of taxi ranks, Ms Hinds said she was extremely concerned that council proposals for a pick-up and drop-off facility to be provided at the New Street car park next to the station were rejected.

She said: "The cost of providing extra taxi ranks and changing the roads infrastructure to accommodate this ban will be high and we need clarification about who will pay for this.

"Talks with Network Rail about these mitigation measures, as well as funding, are ongoing and I urge them to use common sense."

Waverley is one of the last major stations to allow vehicle access in the UK and the changes, which were planned by infrastructure company Network Rail since 2008, were to follow the installation of lifts at the Market Street and Waverley Steps entrances to allow for disabled access. The company said it was prepared to make a contribution to building new drop-off points and taxi ranks but it is thought unlikely that this will include the kerb and pedestrian improvements that make up three-quarters of the council's bill.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We are developing a range of solutions to make the transition as easy as possible and are also committed to working with the council to find a permanent solution to provide taxi ranks and drop-off zones as close to the station as possible."

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