Council ‘broke road repairs vow’ after tramworks

A cracked pavement around The Huxley in the West End. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
A cracked pavement around The Huxley in the West End. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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City centre pavement and road repairs due to take place following the completion of the tram line have been left more than a year without any progress, angry local businesses have claimed.

After years of putting up with tram works upheaval, including streets and pavements ripped up multiple times, traders say they were promised roads would be returned to their previous state.

However, despite it being almost a year since trams began running – and even longer since construction of the line was completed – work to restore footpaths through key areas has yet to begin, particularly in the West End.

Pavements on either side of Princes Street at the corner with Rutland Street remain a slab of tarmac, laid as a temporary measure after paving stones were lifted to allow access for construction vehicles.

Traders say Shandwick Place, Queensferry Street Lane, Coates Crescent, Atholl Crescent and Stafford Street are “not good enough”, while at the other end of the city centre, tarmac pavements have yet to be replaced at the corner of York Place and Broughton Street.

Paper Tiger director Michael Apter, who is chairman of the West End Association, said the city had broken promises which it made to traders.

He said: “In the West End, we’re still waiting for pavement improvements that were promised after the tram works.

“The tram works have been finished for 18 months and the tram’s been running for almost a year but we still haven’t had the pavements budgeted for in the last financial year.

“Leith Walk has had its reinstatement work done, but doesn’t have a tram. We have a tram, but we haven’t had our reinstatement work done.”

And West End fashion retailer Sam Brown said: “Stafford Street is absolutely shocking with potholes. Nothing has been done there at all. It’s totally neglected, like a lot of the West End.”

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We are aware of locations in the city centre that require repairs to rectify the effects of the tram construction works and these are being planned and delivered in a variety of ways.

“In many areas these have involved consultation with the local community and, though opinion may have differed as to when repairs would take place, it is clear that most people have wanted to see the street up and running and back to normality in the first instance.”

“Each location will be 
tackled at a suitable time so as to minimise the impact to our customers.”

A council spokeswoman added that improvements had been made at Rutland Street, and that a plan for the crescents around Shandwick Place was being developed with the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com