Traders ‘left in dark’ over plans to restore Leith Walk

Keith Hales
Keith Hales
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BUSINESSES on Leith Walk say they are being left “in the dark” over plans to restore the area to its former glory.

The council is planning to carry out £5.5 million of reinstatement works on the street, aimed at repairing much of the damage done during work for the tram project. But concerns have now been raised over just what this work will include, with the Leith Business Association calling for more information to be provided on details and timetable of the plans.

The calls came ahead of a major consultation with residents and traders on Leith Walk, with meetings set to be held in the coming weeks aimed at gathering views from stakeholders and minimising disruption from the work.

There were also concerns over where funding for the project would come from after it emerged some of the cost would be met by “efficiencies” in the council’s services for communities budget.

The concerns were highlighted at a recent meeting of Leith Business Association as some members said there was not enough public information about the process to restore Leith Walk and raised fears the scheme could get lost in “council bureaucracy”.

Association chair Keith Hales said: “What is really wrong is that The council don’t tell us enough about what is going on. Perhaps if we knew the process better we’d be able to accept that we may have to lump it, at least for the meantime.

“We are really in the dark now. We need a consistent message from the council, whether it is from councillors or officials. Ultimately, it is all about working together, but there is a certain frustration that there is so little progress at the moment to reinstate the length and breadth of Leith Walk.”

Green councillor for Leith Chas Booth said: “I completely understand the justifiable frustration at the disruption that is still going on from the trams. We need to move forward quickly to put right the problems the works have caused.”

Councillor Deidre Brock said: “We have to get the utilities sorted first. There are already some conflicting views as to what the priorities are. But there is one area of agreement. We all love the Walk and are keen to see it looking its best. The council is simply speaking to as many people as possible about the options.”