LOCALS APPLY PRESSURE ON CEC
Four community councils along the route of the proposed tramway to Newhaven have issued a joint statement to City of Edinburgh Council.
Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT), whose creation we report in Issue 275, comprises New Town & Broughton CC, Leith Central CC, Leith Links CC and Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC. They are broadly in favour of extending the route, which they say has portential for economic and social development in the area.
But they seek timely, evidence-based assurances that – if the project gets the Council’s go-ahead later this year – their residents will not be disadvantaged in the short or long terms as a consequence of ‘inadequately researched projections, options and solutions.
CCTT’s four main areas of concern, and how they should be addressed, are summarised below. The full document is available as a pdf at the foot of this page.
- Prioritise the wellbeing of people along the route.
- Adhere to city commitments on environmental improvement, reduced traffic, people-led place-making.
- Respect and preserve the complex variety of communities and activities along the route.
- Focus on best-quality planning, execution and outcome.
- Comprehensive and independent appraisal of economic impact on businesses.
- Pre-plan to minimise disruption, itemise it in advance, and mitigate its effects at the time.
- Ensure that the impact statement of 2003 has been appropriately updated.
- Ensure that post-tram environmental gains exceed environmental costs during construction.
- Identify targets by which to realistically gauge progress.
- Complete one stage before beginning the next.
- Adequately prepare before making irreversible decisions.
CCTT suspects that the timescale currently envisaged for completing the tramway extension is too rushed for its concerns to be addressed. It wants to know what measures the Tram Team and Council will take to remedy this.
All in all, its statement is an articulate and persuasive expression of local residents’ determination not to be bulldozed by botched decision-making and poor practice in the years to come.
Its calls for effective, meaningful two-way communication between residents and the Tram Team/Council are entirely reasonable. Its repeated insistence on timely and evidence-based responses reflects past Council failures in consulting on and implementing major projects.
Given that we have yet to hear the conclusions of Lord Hardie’s report on the earlier tram problems, CCTT’s call for improved preparation and implementation (and a realistic schedule for achieving them) is perhaps our best hope for avoiding another expensive fiasco.