Traders accuse council of ruining Christmas in Portobello as plans for ‘massive roadworks’ revealed

June Roberts owner of ice cream parlour, called Favours Candy Emporium, on Portobello High Street,
June Roberts owner of ice cream parlour, called Favours Candy Emporium, on Portobello High Street,
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Traders say they will be forced to cancel Christmas celebrations in Portobello due to plans for massive roadworks.

The shopkeepers are angry at plans to re-sett Brighton Place, one of the main routes in and out of Portobello. Seventy five traders have backed the campaign, saying they have not been consulted about the work – which is due to start later this month.

Butternut Squash Cafe on Bath Street Portobello - picture of owner Keith Sturgeon

Butternut Squash Cafe on Bath Street Portobello - picture of owner Keith Sturgeon

June Robertson, co-owner of Favers, said: “The economic impact on local businesses is horrendous. I’m appalled there has been no impact assessments carried out.

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“Traders gatecrashed a meeting on Tuesday night that they found out about at the last minute. That’s the first time we have been able to speak to anyone with regard to the closure.”

She added: “The works are going to kill Portobello High Street at a time when other councils are trying to revive high streets.

“We have a thriving high street in Portobello – it’s a community that’s about to be demolished by Edinburgh council and the works on Brighton Place.”

Traders have axed a Christmas street party for children in Portobello – which attracts up to 1,000 youngsters.

Ms Robertson said: “That has been cancelled this year 
because of the financial impact on us and we don’t know what’s going on.

“We are now going to have to tell the parents and the kids this year that Christmas is not going to happen in Portobello High Street.”

Keith Sturgeon the owner of Butternut Squash, said: “Why do the council keep doing this to Portobello? They seem to agree one thing and do the other. This has to be stopped and common sense needs to prevail.”

The traders gained the backing of councillors on the Housing and Economy Committee for more support.

Councillor Lezley Marion Cameron said: “An economic impact should have been done to inform the decisions that were going to be made by the Transport and Environment Committee. If that hasn’t been done, I just cannot to begin to describe my shock and disappointment.”

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The traders want a package similar to that which businesses along Leith Walk are set to be given ahead of the tram-line potentially being extended to Newhaven.

Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “We appreciate businesses’ concern and will be redoubling our efforts to engage with them over the coming weeks, including a meeting with those involved to discuss the project and how we can support them throughout the process.”

A meeting between traders, local councillors and officers is set to be held.

Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, who represents Portobello, said: “There has been a commitment to offer support to businesses while the work is carried out on Brighton Place. I’m really sorry that the traders haven’t had the level of consultation or engagement that they rightly expected.

“Myself and the other ward councillors absolutely recognise how important this is.”