STUNNED traders have been left bemused after council workers decided to mark the end of crippling roadworks on a tram-hit street – by hanging out the bunting.
Rows of blue and white flags have been draped from lampposts on Constitution Street in a bizarre bid to relaunch the area.
The step was ordered by city chiefs to mark the end of months of disruptive works to repair roads torn up for the abandoned tramline.
Shop-owners were in disbelief when they saw the street decorations, and said the gesture was “rubbing salt in the wounds” of a district that had been blighted by tramworks for several years.
And to make matters worse, the flags have been draped across the street before the works have even been completed.
The repairs, part of a £5.5 million improvement for Leith Walk, started in April to repair damage done during early work on the tram project. Work included widening pavements, road resurfacing and creating new tree pits. The work was slated to finished on 16 August but is still not completed.
A city spokeswoman said the bunting was an attempt to “promote” Leith as a “vibrant area with something for everyone”.
But traders were less than thrilled to see the flags.
Reyhan Gul, 34, co-owner of Rocksalt cafe, said the council were “congratulating themselves” for unfinished work.
She said: “I’m annoyed because business here are not back to normal. Everyone has been affected by the disruptive works. Rather than bunting I would prefer some help towards boosting trade around here.”
Ward councillor Chas Booth said there was “intense anger” among Leith traders over the abandoned tram line that caused brought years of chaos to Leith.
“Leithers have had to put up with so much disruption and yet will not see the benefits. Leith will not get a tram in the near future and their anger is justified.
“I had the impression the council had been managing the tram reinstatement works a little better recently but this news suggests otherwise.”
Outgoing secretary of Leith Central Community Council, Roland Reid, said he had never “heard of anything like this before.
“This is a reflection of how things have gone awry in Leith and it is rubbing salt in the wound,” he said. “Local residents just want the work to be completed as soon as possible to resume normal activities.”
A council spokesperson said the colourful banners have been erected to promote the vibrant area. She said: “Significant work has been carried out, with carriageway resurfacing and the replacement and expansion of pavements. Finishing works are now being completed.”
Red letter day
WE’VE racked our brains to come up with some suitable celebrations that could mark the end of the trams project:
1. A tickertape parade similar to that held by World Cup winners Argentina in 1978.
2. A marching band could parade the length of the tram route – led by Sir Paul McCartney while the Red Arrows do a fly-past.
3. The city council might consider 100 days of lavish games as held in AD 80 to celebrate the completion of the Colosseum.
4. Or they may follow Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdymuk-hamedov’s, who drafted in Jennifer Lopez to sing happy birthday at a $2bn Caspian Sea resort.