THE woman hailed for getting Edinburgh’s trams back on track has been named the best city leader in the UK.
City council chief executive Sue Bruce bagged the top award for helping to boost the Capital’s economy.
She was named City Leader of the Year at a glitzy ceremony in London on Thursday night for her role in driving the council’s “economic development achievements” – including delivering the £776 million tram system.
Mrs Bruce beat off competition from councils across the country to claim the award, which was handed over by TV presenter Clare Balding.
It comes after Mrs Bruce and transport leader Lesley Hinds picked up a special prize at the Light Rail Awards earlier this month for changing the fortunes of the once-beleaguered tram line amid crippling disputes and sky-rocketing costs.
The latest honour was announced at the end of MIPIM UK – a three-day property trade show at London’s Olympia. The awards showcase “the achievements of partners in the public and private sector in revitalising UK cities and towns”.
As well as delivering the trams, Mrs Bruce won praise from the judges for her role in the St James redevelopment plans, attracting investment worth £850m to boost the city’s infrastructure.
She said: “It feels unbelievable. This was completely unsolicited – it wasn’t an award I had submitted an application for, it came out the blue.
“It’s quite a big achievement, I think. But although it is a personal award, it’s for the city and it recognises what the city is doing. I think it’s good for Edinburgh to be up on these platforms because it shows that we are open for business. We are the capital city – we should be playing in the arena a capital city should be playing in.
“I think I do work hard, but this reflects the work we do as a team in Edinburgh. You depend on your team and the people around about you.”
Other award winners included Lord Michael Heseltine, who picked up a Lifetime Achievement gong.
Council leader Andrew Burns said: “This award is testament to Sue’s abilities and her commitment to the city of Edinburgh. It is also much deserved recognition for her successful engagement with the business community, which has led to accelerated regeneration and helped strengthen the city’s reputation as a world leading business hub.”
Hugh Rutherford, chair of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said: “Sue has shown inspirational leadership and is highly respected by the business and property communities. Congratulations to Sue and her teams.”