Edinburgh's tram extension: Noise forces Leith resident to flee - then construction extended to 14 hours a day

Noisy tramworks in Leith are so bad one resident fled to England for ten days to escape the misery – but now she’s home construction work has been extended to 14 hours a day.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 4:55 am

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Contractors building the £207 million tram extension from York Place to Newhaven are working increased hours to install paving on Constitution Street.

Rhona Alcorn, who lives just feet away from the construction site, said she could not stand the noise and decided to get away.

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Tramworks in Constitution Street are causing distress to residents
Tramworks in Constitution Street are causing distress to residents

She said: "They were cutting paving stones, not a quiet job, right outside my window and that was going to be going on all week. It was impossible to work so we just got in the car and drove away.

"We found a place near Hadrian's Wall and were due to come back on Saturday but then our neighbour let us know they were now going to be working from 6am so we managed to extend our stay, but only by a few days.

"Unfortunately, with a very heavy heart, I've had to come home to this noise."

The tramworks normally operate from 8am until 7pm, but from Monday they have been working 6am until 8pm.

However, Ms Alcorn questioned whether they should be operating extended hours at all.

She said: "Our understanding is they're only allowed to deviate from the standard hours for emergency work, not just to make up time because they have mis-planned things.

"At the moment the work they are doing in our part of Constitution Street is laying paving slabs – that's not emergency work.

"Imagine being woken up at 6am with someone cutting big paving slabs outside your window and then the thought you've got to go and sit at your computer at a window by that noise and do your work.

"If they're rushing to complete something by a particular deadline why don't they just put more men on he job in the normal hours rather than use the same men for longer hours?"

Ms Alcorn also said that residents were not given proper notice of works and that complaints were met with “utterly untrue and immensely infuriating” assurances that the council “appreciate the inconvenience caused to residents” and were "conscious of the impact works have on local residents”.Another resident, Scott Dalgarno, from Stevedore Place, said: “Constitution Street is like a war zone. The whole street is just in a state of chaos. You've got this massive thing sucking rocks out of the ground, you’ve got a concrete machine running, you’ve got generators, men shouting and swearing, diggers not doing anything with their engines running. It's absolutely horrendous.

“They're stealing precious hours of peace from people's evenings and mornings.”

Mr Dalgarno said he had lodged between 100 and 200 complaints over the past six months and claimed the project was “bullying" residents. “I think the assumption is eventually people just give up and choke it down. Well I’m not going to.”

A council spokesperson said: “In order to occupy the footway for the minimum length of time as part of Trams to Newhaven works, we have extended work hours on-site. The project continues to communicate information on upcoming works in advance to residents and would encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch with the project contact centre.”

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