Leith roadworks back days after tramworks end

The News reported August's 'celebrations'. Picture: Colin Watson
The News reported August's 'celebrations'. Picture: Colin Watson
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DIGGERS have begun ripping up a Leith street again – 12 days after the city council broke out the bunting to celebrate the end of roadworks.

Frustrated traders who were bemused at the decision to hang flags in Constitution Street in the first place reacted with disbelief when the work got under way right underneath the celebratory blue-and-white bunting.

Today, one business leader suggested it was a case of “one arm of the council not knowing what the other was doing”.

Reyhan Gul, co-owner of the Rocksalt Cafe, said it was unbelievable.

“We were just getting back on our feet during the couple of weeks the road was finally opened, and now parts of it are closed again. Yet there’s still bunting hanging up because the area is supposedly open for business.”

The News told at the end of last month how the decision to decorate the street, which has been blighted by tram works for years, had been criticised for “rubbing salt in the wounds”, with businesses instead demanding practical help to recover.

The city council said the bunting was intended as a “thank you to the locals” to mark the end of the roadworks and as a way of promoting the revitalised neighbourhood to visitors. It has now emerged the work to install a pedestrian crossing is to last 12 weeks.

Alex Wilson, chairman of Leith Business Association, said: “I suppose you could say the bunting was premature. Perhaps it is a case of one arm of the council not knowing what the other was doing. I have to say I don’t see any harm in it but some traders may feel it is superfluous and unnecessary.”

Greener Leith trustee Ally Tibbit said: “At the end of the day we support the installation of these long overdue pedestrian crossings, which will make the area safer. But the bunting was ill-advised and the reaction of most local businesses has ranged from bemusement to annoyance, depending on how affected they have been by the 
roadworks.

“It does seem to be the result of council departments not communicating with each other.”

The city council said it hoped the bunting would help attract visitors to the area.A spokeswoman said: “We appreciate that there has been a lot of work going on in the Leith area from the Foot of the Walk to the Old Dock Gates.

“This has included enhancements to roads, pavements and crossings. Much of this is now complete although some pavement and the junction work is still ongoing. The bunting was erected to help attract visitors to this vibrant area.”