Telephone Kiosk

phone box

Using the contact details provided by Cllr Jason Rust, contact was made with the appropriate department at British Telecom (BT) regarding maintenance of the Phone Box at the junction of Bridge Road with Spylaw Street. BT stated that there was a schedule in place for these Red Box kiosks to be painted. It is expected that this contractual work should begin this month and go on until October. The Colinton box will be done at some point within this window, assuming favourable weather conditions (due to the sensitivity of the paint).
While BT is carrying out a street rationalisation programme, Colinton's phone box was not on the list to be decommissioned. This is because there are enough calls made from the box annually to justify its remaining in operation, which concurs with BT John saying no regarding adopting the kiosk. Monica said there were 70 calls placed in 2016, which I thought was surprisingly high.
Nearby boxes due to be removed include the one at the junction with Paties Road, and another at north Colinton Mains Drive - both of these are the 'modern' type of kiosk.

While I did not report a fault with the phone, BT still said she would send an engineer out, who would give it a clean if needs be.

It will be worthwhile checking with the adopt-a-kiosk people again in August/September, just in case the position changed. Although it is believed that once the 2 aforementioned boxes are removed, Colinton's phone box will be the only one in the area.


In 2011 CVE Group took over the maintenance of the wooden tubs and then hanging baskets on Bridge Road and Spylaw Street when the Colinton Business Association folded. Prior to that a few of us were involved in this project (Colinton in Bloom) as individuals or due to being connected with CBE (I chaired this for a few years). We used flower fund money from collection tins to replace the existing and very old wooden tubs with new wooden planters at that time. CVE has maintained the tubs ever since. 

Bringing things up to date, we decided last year that we needed to either overhaul all our wooden tubs or completely replace them. We decided that a complete renewal made most sense given the relatively short life span of wood/iron. We were motivated by the feeling shared by some residents that Colinton was dying due to the number of empty shops following Andy's departure from the convenience store, the flower shop being empty for so long, the delays in the Co-op coming, the bank closure, and other premises being under occupied.

We wish to make a design statement, not just to provide a lift to those residents who are worried about the Village's viability, but also to encourage the various shops/offices to maybe follow suit. Allingham's, and Dantes before them, are great examples of businesses who have invested in their assets and improved the appearance of Bridge Road.

We hope that an aesthetic improvement will instill greater confidence in residents/visitors that Colinton is not a dying Village and will become a busier place again in the future.

CVE has pledged a minimum contribution from our own group's funds of £1,500 (likely to be increased to £2,000).

We were awarded another grant of £2,000 recently from the Edinburgh Airport Fund. This brings out total current budget to £7,000 or £7,500.

In terms of the type and style of planter, we have chosen Corten® steel.

Ref 3202.02CS Planter wall WPExample of Corten® steel in use as a planter

Corten® or Weathering Steel provide warm rich textures not always associated with metal. Beautiful earthy hues complement any environment. Initially the material was developed as a  high tensile strength material where necessary with little or no maintenance.

The patina or rust acts as a protective barrier not penetrating or compromising the structural integrity of the material. Corten® or Weathering Steel has a reactive patina period from 3 to 9 months depending on location and climate.

Corten steel planters are also extremely long lasting, and require no maintenance. Corten steel [contains alloys that cause its surface to develop a self-protecting rust when exposed to weather; and this protective surface layer will repair itself immediately if damaged mechanically (a characteristic which makes Corten planters particularly well suited for public realm).

The map shows the siting of the 6 planters we initially identified in order of priority (based on the most visually appealing locations). Also attached are the shapes and sizes of the planters being fabricated.

CVE’s initial order for 5 planters was placed last month. Our planters, on arrival will be as follows:

Corten life coloursColor Range. The initial rust (flash rust) is a bright orange color on both weathering steel and ordinary carbon steel. However, on weathering steel, years of wet-dry cycling results in a compact, amorphous layer of various oxide products that typically convey a red-orange/brown appearance.

The manufacturer is Blueton, a company based in Stirling, recommended by Edinburgh Council, and they are also the company Colinton Amenity Association (CAA) used for the finger posts.

We hope that we will replace all the planters in time, 5 initially, with a further 4 or 5 later on, once funds allow. We are in discussions with CAA, who agreed in principle to fund the next 1 or 2, but they have not yet been able to commit.

CVE are arranging for the uplift of all the wooden planters – we don't have a date yet, but it will be within the next couple of weeks.

We have received expert assistance from a recently retired landscape architect, Grazyna, who lives locally. Grazyna completed all the measurements/maps and helped us decide on the planter shapes. We supplied the map and drawings to the Roads/Environment team at CEC and completed a walkabout with the local Roads Engineer and Craig Dunlop to make sure there were no issues in terms of the planter sizes or sites. We have received great support from all involved. Grazyna has also drawn up a list of suitable plants and will be devising a specific planting schedule to suit each planter specifically.

All going to schedule, the planting weekend will be the last one in May. We will be inviting the public to come out and join us in a community plant-athon (under our instructions so that the planting theme/planting map per planter is followed). Tiphereth, CAA, CCCT and Colinton Garden Club have been invited to join us.

It would be great to have Colinton Community Council involved in the planting too.

Park Shed improvements

We have been very pleased with the project which Firrhill art pupils have been working on for the past few months, which is very impressive. This came about due to some damage caused by final year pupils last year. CVE thought it a good opportunity to turn a negative into a positive, and mentioned this idea to Gayle Taylor from Colinton Parish Church, who also works at the School. Gayle quickly arranged a meeting with Graham Hamilton, Head Teacher. CVE presented the idea that if Firrhill had some investment (in terms of work and talent) in renewing the mural (which needed to happen regardless of the minor damage) that it might encourage greater respect for the area in general. Graham, while taking on board the mess left by leaving year students, was very enthusiastic about the positive aspects with Firrhill being involved in a local project, and the idea took off very easily from there.

020517 Mural sketching

5 panels were chosen from the designs presented to CVE. There was a high level of engagement from the pupils and the manner in which they have represented the brief in terms of Colinton's history and the very high standard of work was very evident.

The preparatory work in terms of painting over the old mural and a fresh coat of paint on the shed doors was organised with Craig Dunlop (Parks & Greenspace) and Martin Sleuth from the Community Payback team. CVE has provided all paints and materials necessary for Firrhill.

The artistic work began today (2nd May 17)- the three art teachers involved traced the children's designs (having projected the outlines onto the wall). Colinton Parish Church kindly loaned the school their projector.

The pupils will come to paint it in (2 groups of 8 or 9) on May 15th-17th inclusive.

Merchiston were asked, and have kindly agreed, to provide transport for the pupils on most of the required days. Tiphereth were also asked to help with transportation and they will fill in the transportation gaps for us.

The other project in the park is to plant the stone wall and immediate ground behind the mill wheel next to the mural. CVE is working on this with Craig Dunlop, who is working on having the ground rotovated and will be providing the plants for this.

We're organising some type of 'launch' on Saturday May 27th- Tiphereth, Colinton Parish Church, Colinton CC, CAA and Colinton Garden Club, have been made aware so far.

Lorraine O'Shea - Chair Colinton Village Events