We are as keen as anyone to get the trams up and running and accept that some disruption is inevitable. Our arguments in recent weeks have been about how to make the works liveable with. In that we have actually had the support of the council.
The main villain of the piece has been the contractors that are doing the work – Crummock – which have been deaf to our appeals. We asked for a more convenient point to cross York Place. The council agreed with us – but the contractor refused to play ball. We then asked the contractor to alter the line of its compound outside our venue slightly so that we could have more and safer circulation space. The council supported us but the contractor refused.
We then sought permission to put information signs on the fences around the site in part to make it look better. The council said yes so we put our banners up – then the contractors changed their minds and took them down. So it’s simplistic in the extreme to report this as another council-bashing story.
The truth is that we have a belligerent contractor which is hiding behind the small print of a contract and using it as an excuse to refuse any suggestions to mitigate the effects of its works.
It’s a shame that it should take such an unreasonable attitude – but that’s life. Council officials have been doing their best but have been hamstrung by a contract which made no allowance for things being different during the Festival.
We’ve got a year to try to revise these provisions to make sure that there’s no repeat of this next year.
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