Edinburgh businesses say cycle route roadworks have cut trade by up to 70 per cent

Shops on a busy main road say trade has fallen by up to 70 per cent since work started on a new cross-city cycle link outside their premises.

By Ian Swanson
Monday, 7th March 2022, 4:55 am

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The businesses on Roseburn Terrace complain there is nowhere for customers to park and the roadworks are deterring people from coming to their shops.

Work started at the beginning of February on the £19.4 million City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL) to create a safe and direct cycle route from Roseburn to Leith Walk.

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George Rendall says his business is around 60-70 per cent down due to the roadworks. Photo: Ian Georgeson.

But George Rendall, who runs art gallery and picture framers Art Et Facts, says it has resulted in a dramatic drop in business.

“All the retailers are really suffering badly,” he said. “There's literally nowhere to stop you car. They've put double yellow lines in all the loading and parking bays.

“The whole of this side of the street is cordoned off. You can get to the shop, but I think it's just so intimidating for people it's just not worth it.

“It's virtually stopped trade. We’re probably down 60-70 per cent.”

He said last week was his worst since he opened his business there 33 years ago.

“If it went on like this for another two or three months we'd be bankrupt. You can't survive on nothing.

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“It's horrific, especially after two years of Covid. We're just trying to get over that and then we have this.”

The businesses say the council should recognise the impact of the work on their income and offer support similar to that given to businesses hit by the tramworks in and around Leith Walk.

Julian Skinner, of Moving Pictures, said: “We want compensation for the loss of business it's causing us. Most of the businesses are losing massive amounts of trade.”

He does electronic repairs and digital conversions and has two employees. “My business is probably 60-70 per cent down on passing trade,” he said.

“The main thing we're losing is people bringing in larger pieces of equipment for repair. That has completely dried up. They can't get parked anywhere.

“Fortunately I do call-outs as well which is shielding me from the worst effects of it.

“But we're considering possibly closing the shop or reducing the hours which would mean employees losing work.”

Corstorphine/Murrayfield Tory councillor Scott Douglas called for action to help the local businesses. He said: “We’re only a few weeks into this project and it’s clear the works are causing huge issues for local businesses. Some of them have seen a huge drop-off in their income, and we need to act now if we are to save them.

“The council’s proposals for new signage and social media campaigns don’t go far enough.

“We need to urgently look into a compensation scheme or we risk losing shops that are a vital part of the Roseburn community.”

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A council spokesperson acknowledged the project was disruptive for local residents and businesses and thanked them for their patience.

She said: “We’ve been liaising with businesses in the area throughout the lead-up to this project and continue to do so to resolve any issues.

“As part of this we’ve launched an open for business campaign to promote the area, reaching across social media, on-street advertising and banners on works site barriers. We’ll continue to extend this campaign in the coming months, alongside promotion of the many active travel links connecting to Roseburn.

“While some parking and loading bays will be suspended to allow for traffic management and safe access to the site we’ve set up temporary loading and unloading areas for deliveries too.

“Ultimately, this project will deliver significant benefits to the area, improving public realm, creating a high quality walking and cycling route to the city centre and beyond and leading to a more welcoming environment to spend time in.”

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