Leith Walk traders receive festive boost as revamp delayed until 2013

Leith Walk traders: Set to receive Christmas boost. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Leith Walk traders: Set to receive Christmas boost. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A REVAMP of Leith Walk and Constitution Street in the wake of tram works won’t begin until the New Year in a bid to offer a Christmas boost to struggling traders.

The work – part of a £5.5 million project to reinstate the street following damage caused by the tram project – had been due to start last month, but will now begin in early January.

Council chiefs said they made the decision after a consultation with local residents and businesses.

Limited exploratory work to check the location of underground pipes began last month and will continue on and off until the end of the year.

The council said all works would be phased to limit disruption to residents, traders and to the flow of traffic. The programme is due to be completed by early summer next year.

A consultation on proposed plans for road resurfacing and environmental improvements will take place during November and December and these works will then follow the 
utility works.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said the decision to begin works in the New Year allowed the project team to refine plans for the works and ensure the area remained easily accessible during the pre-Christmas period.

She said: “Whilst we’re very keen to reinstate and improve Leith Walk and Constitution Street as quickly as possible, I’m determined that the needs of the whole community are fully considered in any plans.

“We’ve been talking to traders and there are different
views but we fully understand the importance of the Christmas period to businesses. As Constitution Street will experience works first, it makes sense to wait until after the festive season.”

Councillor Hinds said the tram project was progressing well. She said: “We’re now on track to return Leith Walk and Constitution Street to their former glory. In fact, with new attractive landscaping and other upgrades I’m confident the area will get a well deserved boost.

“We’ll continue to meet with the community as this project develops to make sure plans meet with their expectations.”

Works will see Leith Walk and Constitution Street 
resurfaced from Picardy Place roundabout to Bernard Street Junction. London Road roundabout will also be reinstated with landscaping, as will traffic islands.

Environmental work, including additional soft landscaping, tree planting and improvements to footpaths and for cycling is also included.

Keith Hales, chairman of the Leith Business Association, said firms would welcome the New Year start.

The LBA previously claimed businesses were being “kept in the dark”, but Mr Hales said the situation was getting better.

He said: “Communication is improving all the time.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com