City of Edinburgh Council has announced the provisional timetable for the upcoming Leith Links Community Council elections, with voting day expected to take place on 31 October 2019.
Notice of Election (start of nomination period)
Close of Nominations (forms to Returning Officer)
Withdrawal of Nominations
Notice of Poll (if required)
You may recall that in 2016 Leith Links Community Council was the only Community Council in Edinburgh to be elected by public vote, when seventeen members of community stood for election to our body of 12 Community Councillors.
Between now and the election period we will doing all we can to encourage & support people to stand as candidates, and should we require a public vote we will be doing as much as possible to get as many voters as possible to cast their votes. In 2016 588 voters had their say, this represented 6.9% of eligible voters.
Leith Links Community Council is pleased to note that work has now began on site as part of the new Leith Links play park.
The new play park is expected to be open by the end of July 2019.
This report from SCDC and What Works Scotland explores how community councils can be even more relevant in Scotland’s evolving policy context, especially as public service reform continues through the Local Governance Review.
The report is over 80 pages in length but of particular interest to you may be the recommendations, which are detailed on page 4.
To view the report follow this link.
Leith Festival is an important annual event, only made possible by the massive support of our local community and volunteers willing to invest their time.
Their next AGM is due to be held on Wednesday 1 May 2019, at 7pm, in Leith Dockers Club. Everyone is welcome to attend. Click here to see their Facebook event.
They are currently seeking some new board members, including a Treasurer. So if you are looking for a new volunteering opportunity please do get in touch with them.
Click here to view Leith Festival contact details.
A Leith Volunteer Fair will be held in Leith Community Centre on Friday 7 June 2019 from 1pm until 3pm.
This will be a chance for our community to find out about volunteering opportunities from a number of local organisations including Leithers Don’t Litter, Bethany Christian Trust and Leith Festival.
Pop along on the day to find out more.
Leith Links Community Council is a member of ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’ alongside Leith Central Community Council, Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and New Town & Broughton Community Council. CCTT is the coalition of Community Councils who meet regularly to discuss, scrutinise and influence the intended continuation of the Edinburgh Tram system to Newhaven.
|BAFO = best and final offer
||LLCC = Leith Links Community Council
|CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams
||LW = Leith Walk
|CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
||NTBCC = New Town & Broughton Community Council
|CPZ = controlled parking zone
||OBC = outline business case
|CS = Constitution St
||POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
|ECI = early contractor involvement
||SPC = swept-path contract
|EIA = environmental impact assessment
||TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
|FBC = full business case
||TfE = Transport for Edinburgh
|ISC = infrastructure and systems contract
||TN = Trams to Newhaven project
|LCCC = Leith Central Community Council
||TRO = traffic regulation order
|LHNCC = Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council
||TT = trams team
TAPOG is CEC’s leader and vice-leader, CEC’s transport convenor and vice-convenor, and transport spokespersons from each party
1 Welcome, introductions
||CCTT minutes secretary
2 Update from TT
Rob Leech outlined the next steps for the final business case (FBC), and the main points of its contents.
2.a Next steps
The FBC is on (post-BAFO) schedule. It goes to
- CEC’s transport and environment committee on 29 February
- CEC’s finance and resources TEC committee on 7 March, to consider procurement and contracts
- Full council on 14 March.
Minuter’s note: subjunctive (‘would’, ‘should’) is used where relevant because many things will only happen if CEC approves the FBC.
- This project is about completion of phase 1a of the original tram scheme.
- This should have been completed years ago, i.e. along with the existing line from the airport to York Place.
- The existing line is performing ‘extremely well’, e.g. 7m passengers in 2018.
- The FBC has been updated (from the outline business case [OBC]) to take account of tendered prices, inflation, design-changes (resulting from consultations) and the ‘support for business’ package.
- The FBC has a section on lessons learned from building the existing line. This includes information on retaining knowledge from that project .
- It has been prepared in accordance with Scottish Government and UK Government guidelines.
- It contains much on the strategic case, i.e. reasons for building this extension.
- Edinburgh’s population is set to grow by 20% by 2039.
- Employment will also grow by 7% by 2022.
- There is low car-ownership in the Leith area and the Leith Walk corridor.
- CEC wishes less car-ownership/more sustainable transport, i.e. shift from private motor vehicles to public transport.
- There is very high population on the corridor where this extension would run.
- There is content on connectivity between employment centres, and employment during and after construction.
- There is content on sustainable development at the waterfront.
- Good public transport enables reduced car-dependency in such areas, hence enabling different life-choices.
- That is, it allows people to live near their work; it reduces need for commuting and urban sprawl.
- This would lead to improved air-quality in the tram corridor.
- The extension would enhance Leith and Newhaven as destinations.
- Hence chapter 3 (the strategic case) covers how this project would
- follow UK treasury guidance (the ‘green book’), and CEC policies and strategies, e.g. local development plan
- link 3 out of four economic centres in Edinburgh: airport/international business gateway/Edinburgh park; city centre; Leith waterfront. (Tram would not serve the SE quarter economic centre.)
- Overall, the FBC presents tram as an enabler for growth that would not occur without it.
- Concerning the economic case:
- The capital cost is set to be £196m. (It was £165m in the OBC.)
- This allows for risk, using a quantitative analysis using ‘green book’ methods.
- It includes an amount for contractor-pricing. This was initiated by the collapse of Carillion, leading to contractors undertaking much more due diligence when tendering.
- It also includes inflation and design-changes.
- It also includes the ‘support for business’ package.
- There will also be two contracts, hence increased contract-management overheads. (Management will be by a blended team, including a delivery unit containing experienced light-rail consultants, and senior CEC officials such as D Wraight. At peak, there will be around 30 CEC managers in this project.)
- Early contractor involvement (ECI) adds some management overheads, and adds 6 months to the programme.
- In addition to the £196m, £10m has been added for optimism bias (OB), following government guidance.
- This takes the total cost to £207·3m, giving a benefit to cost ratio of 1·4:1. (In public transport schemes, this ration is expected to be between 1·2: 1 and 2:1, because public transport has quite high construction and operational/maintenance costs. The OBC had 1·64, but the majority of the change here is due to changed government guidance on costing time.)
- At the start of a process (before design starts), the ‘green book’ mandates a large OB (66%). However, there is then a sliding scale based on Network Rail’s GRIP design process. This scale moves from optimism bias to quantitative risk analysis (QRA). SO FBCs should be base costs + an amount from QRA. (Economic cases should include OB, but the guidelines are ambiguous about inclusion of OB in financial cases. TT has assumed 6% OB. The OBC had 20% OB in its economic case, but not in its financial case.)
- Also, professor Bent Flyvbjerg and colleagues have an alternative method for calculating risk, based on an ‘outsider’ view using information from similar projects about projected and actual costs. (The UK and Scottish Governments do not currently accept this method.) Flyvbjerg and colleagues calculated this project’s capital cost as £257m, not £207m. However, they recognise that the project is very advanced from the initial design stage, that some utilities have already been moved, and that this project is an extension of an existing line, not de novo. These could reduce the overall cost but such reductions are not part of their model.
- Hence £50m (£257m – £207m) has been earmarked as a contingency to be managed by CEC’s head of finance and a finance and risk subcommittee (reporting to the project board).
- The impact of such drawdown would increase the 2024-27 borrowing from £1·9m to £14·8m. This level of borrowing would be repaid by 2037.
- The FBC hence considers mitigation, e.g. borrowing at less than 4·1%, moving away from parity of fares between bus and tram, and optimising tram maintenance and infrastructure costs.
- The economic case is also based on patronage forecasts of 15·7m in 2023 (first year of operation).
- This comes from high population densities and increased development on the corridor, e.g. Cala development.
- Increased patronage would come from bus and car, i.e. people would use trams rather than buses.
- Suitable wording in the FBC has been agreed with Lothian Buses (LB), recognising that this project is part of an integrated public transport framework. This section also covers what LB needs to remain robust during and after construction. These include clear radial routes into the city, e.g. double-red lines at the Roseburn shops. Hence LB wants CEC to enforce route-clarity more strongly than is done today.
- (C Encombe suggested that implementation of a CPZ in LCCC’s area would help enhance route-clarity.)
- (H Tobermann suggested that historically CEC has not enforced well in the past, and questioned why LB has not asked for route-clarity enforcement previously.)
- This extension was always the part that would make Edinburgh trams financially positive.
- There are also anticipated wider benefits, which may add between 15 and 40% to the economic case. (There is no agreed method for assessing their financial value, so they have not been monetised in the FBC.)
- These benefits include employment opportunities, connectivity (agglomeration of businesses), linking brownfield sites with other economic centres to provide more opportunities, higher population densities.
- The financial case centres on future tram revenues, but also relies on £20m dividend over 11 years from Lothian buses.
- LB already pays a dividend to CEC.
- In early years during construction, there is drawdown of money, but no revenue [from ticket sales].
- There would be a cashflow-issue (2024 to 2027) of £1·9m. This would come from CEC’s reserves. Later, revenues should grow, enabling replenishment of CEC’s reserves.
- This use of reserves would cause an opportunity cost. (Examination of this was inspired by the Hardie enquiry.)
- The extension would give Edinburgh £395m economic benefit (net present value) over 60 years.
- The FBC includes downward sensitivity-testing, around patronage and cost of borrowing. This assumes 4·1% interest, but CEC can borrow more cheaply than that. It also assumes no loss of revenue from stoppage.
- The FBC also includes a commercial case.
- This covers ECI and contract-conclusion.
- The FBC also includes a management case.
- This covers how the project will be implemented, e.g. heritage and archaeology work, large work-sites, no double-digging, support for businesses, governance.
- There is also a section on supplementary projects. It has been agreed that CEC would fund these (e.g. from its active travel and capital roads budgets) in parallel with the tram-work. However, these are outwith the tram-project’s limit of deviation and are hence not part of the FBC. It is very likely that TT will deliver these supplementary projects.
- The supplementary projects do not include integrated ticketing.
Minuter’s note: the information in some answers has been included at relevant points in the above, so is not repeated here.
- The cost of the completion phase is ¼ of the cost of the initial phase because the initial phase is ‘extraordinarily expensive’. Building from lessons learnt from the original tram project, firstly the contracts for this project use NEC industry standards. (The contracts for the original project were bespoke.) This form of contract mandates that contractors cannot stop work if there are (contractual) issues, and that contractors will continue to be paid.
- Secondly there are large work sites, so contractors can (and are contractually required to) continue work in other, non-problematic areas while problems are being resolved.
- Thirdly, excavations for utility-diversions would not be covered over, and then re-dug to enable construction. Instead, a swept-path process would be used: excavations would be dug, utilities diverted, then construction would occur. Because there would be several stretches of work using this method, if a problem occurs in any area, work can continue in other (parts of) stretches while problems are being resolved.
- The contracts now use the NEC4 standard, rather than NEC3. The main difference is that NEC4 mandates a project bank account from which main subcontractors are paid directly. Hence, should the main contractor become insolvent, the main subcontractors would continue to be paid. This would also enable ECI.
- There are two incentive mechanisms in the contracts:
- During ECI, there is an incentive mechanism to reduce costs: this would benefit both the contractors and CEC.
- Once construction starts, a ‘pain-gain’ mechanism would start on the Infrastructure & Systems Contract. That is, should costs exceed the target price, CEC would share the costs 50/50 with the contractor up to a threshold of 120% of the target price, thereafter the risk is with the contractor for all the main civil engineering works. Should costs be less than the target price, CEC and the contractor would receive equal shares of such savings. Hence th contractor would have a ‘massive’ incentive to deliver for less than the target price.
- However, there is no incentive to cut corners. While the contractors are self-certifying. CEC’s technical services (provided by Atkins) will check contractors’ designs as they arrive. Similarly, TT will employ 3 quality-control inspectors (1 during ECI). Their sole responsibility is to be on site all through the work, checking that everything is as per the designs. TT will also inspect the inspections.
- Price-increases were partly cause by market price-testing. (R Leech is not privy to the actual contractors’ costs for each part of the design.) However, it is very likely that risk has been priced into the costs. There were risk-costs in the OBC’s £165m costs.
- H Tobermann stated that the construction cost has increased more from the OBC cost than he would expect.
- R Leech responded that probably as a result of Carillion’s collapse, contractors took a more diligent approach to tendering. RL believes this is a positive step because it means prices are realistic, and contractors really understand what they are taking on. (Too often, they haven’t known, so ‘disasters’ happen during work.) ECI also adds to this positive effect.
- TT has closely followed the evidence presented to the Hardie enquiry. It has also undertaken its own ‘lessons learnt’ process, based on knowledge from people who were involved in the original work.
- It was suggested that the people available to this process were only involved in ‘rescuing’ the original project, so they know what went wrong but not what caused this. However, RL stated that people with knowledge of the original project, pre-mediation, are available to advise the project. Physical work would start before the end of 2019. However, ECI work will start before this, leading to some minor road-works and accompanying traffic-management. An outline of the main works is on the TT website.
- The principles for landscaping designs have been created but detailed designs for areas such as Elm Row have yet to be finalised. This will specify details of trees etc.
- It needs to be decided whether and how these CCTT/TT meetings will continue. However, RL believes that they have been beneficial. D Wraight stated that other groups have asked how they can be involved in these meetings.
- H Tobermann suggested that further meetings should cover the timetable and [CCTT’s list of] supplementary projects.
- Much documentation is being published along with the FBC. Stakeholders will be emailed when the FBC and accompanying documents are published, giving links to them.
Later this year the ParkLife project (a collaboration between City of Edinburgh Council and University of Edinburgh) is coming to Leith Links!
Everyone who uses or has an interest in Leith Links is welcome to attend this community workshop to find out more about the project & what it means for Leith Links. This is also an opportunity to feed into the work of the project moving forward.
The workshop is being held on Monday 1 April 2019 from 6pm in Leith Community Centre – follow this link to book your seat.
The ParkLife project is looking at how new uses of data and technology can help us understand how people use and value parks. The aim is to support the city and park partners to work together to improve parks to benefit everyone. The project includes the installation of a wifi enabled model which park users can engage with, should they wish to do so.
The workshop will give you an opportunity to share and develop your ideas about ways Leith Links can be improved and how technology might be able to help. During the workshop we will design several ‘prototypes’ that could be built and installed in Leith Links. These can be anything from a digital notice board that provides information about park activities to a system for timing yourself running a mile.
You don’t need to have prior understanding of technology in order to be able to join. You just need to be a person who cares about parks! Your views are important and will directly contribute to the project. Parks are diverse spaces and we would like to hear from as many people as possible.
Joint statement by Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT) – a coalition of the four community councils that cover the areas most impacted by the route of the tram extension [which includes Leith Links Community Council].
In advance of Edinburgh Council’s imminent final decision to go ahead with the tram extension to Newhaven, which represents a major intervention in the areas covered by the four Community Councils along the route, CCTT has reviewed the information gathered from documents in the public domain and provided in monthly meetings with the Tram Project Team.
While we continue to support the broad principle and ambitious aims of the tram extension, a number of our concerns have yet to be fully addressed.
We recognise that a strong feeling exists among many people in our communities that this project is being pushed through with undue and unnecessary haste.
We remain sceptical about the absence of sufficiently robust progress or commitment over the following measures which are essential if the tram is to achieve its steep environmental mode-shifting targets and if the collateral damage of the inevitably disruptive construction period is to be reduced.
CCTT seeks firm commitment from Edinburgh Council, Transport Scotland and Transport for Edinburgh for the following project-critical measures:
- Fully Integrated Ticketing System (FITS): this is key to achieving a material modal shift from car to public transport (as opposed to the 87% modal shift from bus to tram, as projected in the tram business case)
- Staged construction sites, ie avoiding simultaneous closure of (a) Leith Walk, (b) Constitution Street to Bernard Street and (c) Melrose/Ocean Drive to Ocean Way; in parallel, CCTT seek bus priority route deviations with quality temporary bus stops: these two measures are key to minimising disruption to the daily lives of 75,000 residents and 1500 businesses
- Controlled Parking Zones along the tram corridor: this is key to preventing the tram corridor from turning into Edinburgh’s largest park and ride area.
- Constitution Street: construction of strengthened pavements and the introduction of a streamlined dual permit system for scaffolding, as well as further serious engagement with residents and businesses about the detail of the design for the street.
- Early and maximum clarity on the logistics intended to serve local businesses during construction to allow traders (along the tram corridor and – if necessary – along the diversion routes) to plan ahead and make appropriate arrangements that will allow them to survive the inevitable disruption during the construction period.
CCTT has been a valued partner of the Tram Project Team during the months leading up to this point in the process, contributing local knowledge and providing a critical sounding board.
If real progress can be achieved in relation to our key concerns and the above measures, we will stay involved and work constructively with the Tram Project Team during the Early Contractor Involvement and construction periods.
In 2018 the Edinburgh Cycle Hire Scheme (operated by Serco under contract to Transport for Edinburgh) introduced a hire point in Leith Links, sadly this had to be removed following serious damage.
Leith Links Community Council will be considering other suitable locations at our next meeting on Monday 25 March 2019 (18:30 in Leith Community Centre), with a view to submitting a request or requests, and is keen to hear your suggestions.
Below is a map of our area (the area within the red boundary line), if you can think of a suitable location please let us know and tell us why you think it would be suitable.
We’ll circulate a list of the suggestions in due course.
- If you find an abandoned bike you can report to Serco by email, telephoning 0131 278 3000 or Twitter so that they can consider collecting it.
update 30/3/19: We have removed the suggestion form and considered the suggestions at our meeting on 25 March 2019, please view our minutes of this meeting when they are published on this website for further updates