Tram Report finally admits there will be no trams in Leith PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 June 2011 22:19

Fully one year on from the first suggestion that a phased implementation of the Edinburgh Tram Project might not see trams running in Leith for the forseeable future, a report to be considered by the Council next week is finally recommending that the line be built only from the Airport to St Andrew Square.

A copy of the leaked Tram Report has been posted on the LBA Document Library - the document is also now available on the Council website. The report sets out three options for the project:

Option 1. : Continue the project in its present form to completion. i.e. full extent of Line 1a Airport - Newhaven.

Option 2. : Separation. - i.e. end the contract and cease the build.

Option 3. : Progress to St Andrew Square / York Place (with a sub-option to build to Haymarket).

Although there are a number of costs quoted in the report indicating anticipated costs for Option 3., none of these has been substantiated, or detailed. Reference is made in the report to a 'confidential appendix' which may contain further detail, although this has not been included in the leaked document, nor has it been published on the Council's website. Many of the costs were widely leaked in the media, although Councillors and council officials refused to confirm or deny the numbers. Those which have been most widely quoted are:

Cost to continue - the figure is not quoted directly in the report other than in reference to the confidential appendix. The report does however suggest that costs to build to the foot of Leith Walk could be up to £970M, and to Newhaven as being up to £1.09BN.

Cost to separate - the figure is also not quoted directly in the report, other than in reference to the confidential appendix, but it has been reported in the media as £750M.

Cost to build to St Andrew Square -  unlike the other options, costs for the preferred option are included and estimated at up to £773M. Cost to build sub-option to Haymarket - estimated at £700M.

Rank Hypocrisy

It is disgraceful that the full detail and breakdown of these costs has not been made available to the public in order that appropriate representation can be made the elected representatives.  This type of obfuscation is however endemic throughout every aspect of the Tram Project and has not changed despite changes of management at both tie and the Council.

It is also rank hypocrisy that the figures and their breakdown have not been published, when the report states at Section 2.2, 'It has been the intention throughout this process to be open and transparent'!

The Council as funder of last resort is responsible for all costs in excess of the £500M from the Scottish government. As of 21 May 2011, £461M had been spent/committed. The Council had originally expected to contribute £45M, of which only £17.6M has been realized. No decision has been made about how the funding ap between available funds and final cost will be met.

The future for Leith

The report is disgustingly biased towards Option 3., and if approved will see the tram stop at St Andrew Square / York Place.

Separation as proposed under Option 2., separation would have the same impact on Leith. 

The admission that trams will not come to Leith will doubtless cause mixed emotions for businesses here.  There will be disappointment that there is nothing to show for the years of disruption caused by the MUDFA works, and a sense of relief that the further disruption of the INFRACO construction will not have to be endured.

On a brighter note, it does however mean that early representations could be made to the Council to restore the public realm 'messes' left behind by the suspension of works.  Indeed mention is made of this within the report (sections 3.72-3.76), '...proposals for dealing with repair and reinstatement works for the Leith Walk section will be reported to the Council’s Transport Infrastructure and Environment Committee later this summer.'.

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 June 2011 11:44 )