Tramworks suspected as Haymarket restaurant is flooded

Grosvenor Street basements have been flooded by a damaged sewer. Picture: Jane Barlow
Grosvenor Street basements have been flooded by a damaged sewer. Picture: Jane Barlow
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MANAGERS of a business flooded by sewage water during this week’s heavy rain are demanding compensation after it emerged the damage may have been caused by tramworks.

Workers and residents in Haymarket said water levels in flats, cafes and restaurants began to rise on Thursday morning and were a foot high in some areas as night fell.

Bosses at Scottish Water have confirmed the flooding was due to a collapsed sewer and said an investigation to establish the cause was ongoing.

Mohammed Hussain, manager of the Omar Khayyam restaurant in Grosvenor Street, which had to shut its doors because of flooding, said he had been told by Scottish Water site workers that the area’s sewer had been damaged by nearby tram works.

He added: “They saw that the sewer had collapsed and said it was because of the work that had been carried out on the tram line.

“We were completely flooded out – basically everything has been damaged. There was water above my knees at one point and I am 6ft 2in.

“I tried to go in there and save as much as I could but nothing could be saved. The kitchen, office and all the food in our storage room were wrecked and we have had to close the restaurant for two days. This will have cost thousands of pounds in lost business.

“We will be looking for compensation – something from the council. This is not our fault. It’s one of those things but it has caused us damage and a loss of business.”

Daniel Hoyland, manager at Beanscene on Grosvenor Street, said: “We only got wind of a problem in the afternoon when a customer came and told us that water was building up downstairs. It was about a foot high – we had a moat round our building. It was really bad.

“Our downstairs was completely flooded so we did not have any access to our toilets, our office, and our stock room. We were serving our customers anything we could. It’s ridiculous.

“We’ve reported it to our head office and they’re sending someone to check out the damage.”

When asked if he thought the flooding was due to tramworks, Mr Hoyland said: “It’s the only conclusion we can come to.”

A spokesman for Scottish Water said yesterday that the company’s priority would be to make the Haymarket area safe for residents and businesses, and return the water network to normal operation as soon as possible.

He added: “A CCTV survey of the network is arranged to ascertain the condition of the sewer and what repair work will be required.

“A number of factors can contribute towards a sewer collapse, and it is not always clear what the cause is, even after investigation.

“We apologise to local people for any inconvenience as a result of this sewer collapse and we are working with Edinburgh Trams to restore the network to normal.”

A city council spokesman said: “The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined and there is no clear indication at this stage that the tram works have anything to do with the problem.

“However, we continue to offer our full support to Scottish Water – and to all local businesses and residents affected.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com