Edinburgh traders hit as roadworks restart: new bid for compensation from council

A fresh bid will be made on Thursday to secure compensation for traders who say their future is threatened by major roadworks which have seen customers stay away.

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The shopkeepers in Roseburn Terrace made a plea to the city council in March, saying they had lost up to 70 per cent of their trade since work on a cycle route, the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL), started outside their premises the previous month. But their request for financial support was turned down.

Now Euan Davidson, a Lib Dem councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, has tabled a motion for the full council meeting proposing a new look at the possibility of setting up a compensation scheme for businesses adversely affected by the works to ensure they can continue to operate over the coming months that the roadworks are in place.”

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George Rendall, who runs art gallery and picture framers Art Et Facts, said work on the project had been paused at the end of May and trade had got back to something like normal, but now the works had resumed and business was being hit again.

"They have restarted the work again and they'll be there for another three months. Once again business has dropped by 30, 40 or 50 per cent for most of the traders. I've spoken to three business owners and they think if it goes as bad as it did before they won't last till Christmas.”

He said he had recently met council leader Cammy Day. “He was trying to say it was just like roadworks and they couldn't set a precedent by paying out for roadworks. But this is not normal road works – it's on a par with the trams: you can’t get near the place and people are staying away. It's months and months of work and nobody comes near the place while it's on. You can't get access. This is infrastructure, not roadworks. We've had roadworks before but we've never had these problems.

“We had major gas works a few years back, but because the guy in charge was accommodating for us and our businesses – we were able to park and all that – it didn't make much of a difference at all. This has made a huge difference.

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George Rendall says businesses are just looking for a little help to keep them going during the roadworks. Photo: Ian Georgeson.

"They'll finish in December because they need to open it up for Christmas but then they'll be back again in January to lay down the cycle path. The longer they take the harder it will get.”

Mr Rendall pointed out that at the council elections in May there had been support from many quarters for the traders’ compensation plea. Richard Parker, the Labour candidate for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, had backed a compensation scheme, despite his party voting against it at the council, and he even launched a petition on the issue, which gathered nearly 1,000 signatures.

"We don't want all the money we're losing, we just want some compensation to try us keep us going for the next few months,” said Mr Rendall. “We just want a little help.”

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