Edinburgh council: Former Lord Provost Frank Ross urges new Labour minority administration to honour election promises

The former Lord Provost has called on the council to honour election promises made by Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative councillors who said they would give compensation to the Roseburn traders.

Frank Ross, who serves as SNP Councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, teased the new Labour minority administration on Thursday.

He said: “Now that it appears that we will have a Lab/Tory/LibDem coalition running Edinburgh I look forward to compensation payments promised during the election, by all three parties, to the Roseburn Traders being paid.”

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Earlier in the year, construction of the City Centre West to East Link cycle route saw businesses on Roseburn Terrace experience a drop in sales, with some shopkeepers reporting as much as a 70 per cent loss in trade, citing lack of available parking as a factor.

Frank Ross, former Lord Provost

A motion to compensate traders affected by the construction works was rejected by Labour, SNP and Green parties on March 17, with the most vocal support to help businesses coming from former Lib Dem councillor Gillian Gloyer and former Tory councillor Scott Douglas.

But just weeks after Labour dismissed the pleas for help from Roseburn traders, Labour candidate for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, Richard Parker, petitioned for compensation in a move labelled by Scott Douglas as “rank hypocrisy and political opportunism from the Labour party”.

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In the run up to the election Scott Douglas said it is “up to the council to step in and alleviate the situation” and Gillian Gloyer suggested that a voucher scheme “could make the difference for some of these retailers between surviving or losing their businesses”.

Speaking to the Evening News, Councillor Ross said: “Given that these three parties now form the administration of the city and they all campaigned actively on paying compensation - that’s where my expectation comes from.

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“Richard Parker, during the election, campaigned very much on paying it and indeed started a petition which gained almost a thousand signatures and he submitted that to the council for consideration.

“I would assume that since the Labour party support what they’re candidates do in the election process that it’s not unreasonable to assume that they would now be supportive of such a payment.”

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Councillor Ross said he has questioned council officers on why compensation allowance was not included in the business plan for the Capital’s new £19.4 million cycle lane when it had been included in the tram extension project but has yet to receive an answer.

He said: “I’ve asked officers if they can explain to me why one capital infrastructure project had the cost of compensation built into it and another didn’t. Because to me that seems like an inconsistency.

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“Due consideration should be given to the impact on SMEs and micro businesses which is what you have predominately in Roseburn.”

He added: “We’ve had Brexit, we’ve had Covid, we’ve now got a cost of living crisis – a lot of these guys are hanging on by their fingernails and I think where we’re planning capital infrastructure improvements we need to be more aware of the impact that they have on these fairly fragile businesses.

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“I think they should deliver on the promises that they made when they were campaigning for election.”