Opinion split on taking trams down Leith Walk

Colin Howden of Transform Scotland.

Colin Howden of Transform Scotland.

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TRANSPORT campaigners today insisted taking the tram down Leith Walk was the right move for the city.

Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, said: “We are very keen to see the network extended to Leith and Newhaven.

“Leith is the most densely populated part of the city and there are lots of plans for the regeneration of the waterfront area.

“We need to invest in the infrastructure of the city. Completion of the tramline to Leith and Newhaven should be a priority for investment by national government and the council should be looking to see if there are other sources of funding too.”

Mr Howden said the tram vehicles and the tracks had been bought already and most of the utilities works had been carried out.

“It’s our firm view the tram scheme should be completed by taking it down Leith Walk and it’s up to the council to work out how they do that.”

But Gordon Burgess, owner of The Bed Shop in Leith Walk, said he was “delighted” the SNP planned to vote against the tram extension.

He established the Leith Business Association in 2008 in response to the disruption local traders suffered during the previous construction work.

“The effect on businesses was pretty horrific,” he said.

And he claimed there would be “even more significant upheaval” if the decision was made to go ahead with the extension.

“It would be a complete waste of money,” he said. “They talk about £144m, but the last estimate was grossly wrong. There are much more important things to be done in this city than extending the tTransport rams.”