Limbo on trams causes further angst for businesses

Frustration builds as the council consider the future for the transport project

Businesses on Leith Walk have spoken out against the Edinburgh tram project after the latest developments were revealed in the full City of Edinburgh Council meeting.

The main road linking the city to Leith was disrupted by tramworks for months a couple of years ago and some businesses are still reeling over the detrimental impact it had to their businesses.

Following news that Princes Street is to be closed again this summer and strong indications that the line will be lucky to make it to St Andrews Square let alone Newhaven as originally planned, many are calling for the entire project to be scrapped.

Garry Scott, director of Urbane furniture at the top of Leith Walk said: “I think scrapping the whole thing is the best plan. Cut your losses and get out while you can.

“They should be spending money on regeneration and helping businesses to recover after what has happened over the last two years or so.

“They should forget about it and put money back into advertising business and bringing people back into the city rather than scaring them off to business parks on the outskirts of the city.”

The manager of Leomax electronics store, Adeel Ashraf is disappointed by lack of organisation. He said: “Once the project was started it should have been finished.

“The worst thing that they could have done was to stop, all that time and it’s tax payers money wasted.

“Plus the compensation that has been given to businesses has not been enough to cover the loss of business.”

Bob Baird is co-owner of the toy and model shop, Harburn Hobbies and attended various meeting with the contractors and project managers before construction began.

He said: “I provided them with information, books and DVDs about how the old tram system used to work and where the problems were likely to be on the same streets that they ran before.

“But they didn’t seem to want to know.

“The city is in such a mess now, I am embarrassed.” Despite this Mr Baird doesn’t think that a decision should be hurried.

He said: “They don’t want to rush a decision. That’s possibly what was wrong before because they made rushed decisions.”

He added: “Trams in general are good, that’s the first thing but in Edinburgh, no. They are not good.

“TIE have put a generation off trams. All they have seen is disruption and the total incompetence has ruined it.”

Manager of the pub the Windsor Buffet, Jacqualine MacEachen is not impressed by the tram project. She said: “The whole thing is a bit of a farce.“We only took over the business a year ago and the works finished quite soon afterwards so the business wasn’t that badly affected.

“From a personal point of view I just want it over and done with. I can’t see it being detrimental if the trams finish in the city.

“I just want the whole thing to be scrapped to be honest.”

Front of house manager at the Playhouse Theatre, Paul McKerrow agrees. He said: “It should be scrapped. It’s not going to run the whole way anyway so what’s the point in having a half arsed job?

“Scrapping it would mean we can have a chance to rebuild local businesses.

“It’s terrible when tourists come to the city what with Princes Street being dug up.

“We should draw a line under it and increase the bus service.”

Councillors will decide the fate of the tram project next month at a meeting of the full City of Edinburgh Council.

IN DETAIL

The cost of scrapping the trams is to be revealed

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