‘Traders must be supported during work’

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THERE must have been some on Leith Walk who were relieved to hear the tram route was being halted at St Andrew Square.

After all, those who had survived the initial utility diversion work, had already endured years of roadworks and disruption, and the hope that it would “all be worth it in the end” was wearing thin.

That the trams would be halted in the city centre at least meant there would be no more roadworks in Leith with which to contend.

Only, like much else with this project, it is not as simple as that.

Today, we report the news that roadworks are to return to Leith Walk in the early summer, principally to fix work on the utilities which was not done at the time of the original upheaval. After that, locals can look forward to more disruption as work is carried out to the pavements and restoring street furniture.

Understandably, businesses are again furious, as much with what they say is a lack of communication than anything else, and we can again expect warnings about retailers shutting up shop.

But we also understand the council is in a difficult position as it works to rescue the project.

The time for the blame game is later, and certainly there will be ample opportunity at the eventual public inquiry.

There is no doubt though that this work must be carried out and, at least when complete, we recognise it will drastically improve the look of the area.

It can only be hoped that it will in turn then attract shoppers back to Leith Walk and give the unfortunate traders there a much-needed boost.

In the meantime, we hope work will continue with local businesses to support them through this latest disruption, whether that is financially or through promotional activity.

There may be little prospect of a tram line on Leith Walk any time soon. Given the experience of the past, the traders and residents would no doubt settle for some respite.

Rightful recognition

Queen Victoria definitely would not be amused.

The fact that the monarch is one of only two women commemorated in statue form in Edinburgh is royally wrong. Elsie Inglis and others – past and present – deserve the recognition as much, if not more, than some of their male counterparts.

Let’s hope the new campaign around International Women’s Day draws attention to the cause so we can start chipping away at the inequality.