Community Councils Together on Trams: Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 28 May 2020

Leith Links Community Council is a member of ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’ alongside Leith Central Community CouncilLeith 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.

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 28 May 2020 are copied below for our communities information.

Actions and decisions are in italic.

1 Attendance

Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Steve Jackson Trams Team Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Rob Leech Trams Team Chris Wilson Trams Team

2 Apologies

None, although due to a poor connection C Nimmo left the meeting prematurely

3 Welcome, introductions, change to agenda

It was agreed to take the Trams Team’s update on remobilization first.

4 TT update: remobilisation presentation

  • Scottish Government (SG) is likely to allow construction activity to commence slowly from 28 May.
  • Hence Trams Team (TT) is working on a strategy to remobilise in line with SG guidance and a 6-phase strategy:
  1. Planning
  2. Pre-start
  3. Soft start
  4. Operating with no personal protective equipment (PPE – apart from that which is normally used in construction)
  5. Operating with PPE (that is relevant to covid-19)
  6. Increasing density (i.e. ‘business as usual’)
  • A communications plan is being developed and implemented.
  • So far implementation details have been worked out as far as stage 2 (‘soft start’). Full SG guidance on later stages is not yet available. All progress is subject to SG regulations permitting it.


Phase Dates High-level description Details
0. Planning Up to 31/5 Revision of health & safety, risk assessment and methods documentation Instruct contractors to prepare for restart following SG guidance
1. Pre-start From 1 June Small team (10-12 people) preparing site for recommencement
  • Amend project offices
  • Prepare sites (signage, sanitation etc)
2. Soft start From 8 June Slow build-up of physically distanced workforce using no covid-19 PPE Phase 2.1 (from 8 June)

  • Reverse shutdown, especially in Constitution St

Phase 2.2 (from 13 June)

  • Ocean Terminal TICZ excavation
  • Lindsay Rd ground investigation for possible SGN diversion
  • Melrose Drive manhole survey

Phase 2.3 (from 22 June)

  • Leith Walk traffic management setup
  • Leith Walk site clearance
  • Leith Walk utility works
  • Newhaven TICZ
  • Constitution St soft start
  • Malmaison Square works

Phase 4 (from 6 July)

  • Leith Walk TICZ works
  • Britannia Quay Road completion
3. Operating
with no PPE
From 17 June Steady-state operation with physical distancing and no use of covid-19 PPE As phase 2, subject to progression by SG
  • Commencement of phase 2 on 22 June has been agreed with Lothian Buses (LB).
  • Traffic management installation would start on Friday 19 June, to enable substantive work to start on 22 June. Hence exact dates in the table above are still to be confirmed. Hence bus-diversions would also start ahead of start of phase 2.
  • Communication of start of site-preparation will be issued over Friday 29 May, explaining what will happen, working practices and emphasising that only site-preparation is being started just now. Communication of start of phase 2 will occur later, when that phase’s start has been confirmed.

5 Review of two-way cyclepath plans: how will it work for local people and businesses?

  • H Tobermann noted that TT planned a two-way cycle-path along the length of the Leith Walk construction site, alongside a footpath. The two-way cycle-path would be 3m wide and the footpath 2m wide, i.e. total path-width 5m. HT questioned the practicality of this.
  • R Leech responded that 5m is the minimum width, and that there are many places where the paths can be much wider. Later, he noted that covid-19 has changed many requirements.
  • S Jackson noted that TT is working with CEC on how to implement paths. This might lead to different distributions of the total width between cycle-path and footpath.
  • H Tobermann noted the area’s high population density, heavy footfall, street furniture that is hard to move, junctions, and asked for assurance that whatever is developed stays in place for the full construction period.
  • Asked whether these measures would be introduced on Melrose Drive and in Newhaven, S Jackson noted that each site is being reviewed to establish what can be done to enable physical distancing.
  • C Encombe asked whether plans to install/improve cycle-paths roughly parallel with Leith Walk that would reduce cycling on LW itself could be brought forward.
  • B Ryan suggested that downhill cycling on Leith Walk should be on the road, not the pavement, because such cyclists can keep up with traffic, and this would minimize danger to pedestrians and those cycling uphill, along with optimising use of the available pavement-space.
  • R Leech suggested that some sections of the cycling community and some CEC members may not favour this, and that it was unlikely that cycling downhill on Leith Walk would be completely banned, especially at the top.
  • M Birch added that reducing the width of a two-way cycle lane would maximise danger to cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Action: TT to consider these suggestions, and the difficulties of changing cycle and pedestrian paths
  • H Tobermann suggested that consultation should always include visuals of what is being proposed, and hence asked for plans of the proposed paths. These could include section-drawings, detail of straightness and obstacles (e.g. traffic-lights), including whether such obstacles would be removed.
  • R Leech responded that consultation should be done before detailed plans are drawn, and that due to distancing requirements it is likely that pedestrians will need more of the available space. (HT concurred with the latter point.)
  • Asked when TT would consult with CCTT, R Leech responded that TT is taking in right now CCTT’s point that pedestrians should be the highest priority in this matter, and that other people concurred. He reiterated that physical distancing requirements would drive most decisions.
  • Asked when decisions would be made, and by whom, R Leech and S Jackson responded that they would be made before TT starts to close off Leith Walk, i.e. before 22 June. They will be discussed by the project board, and elected members, and TT will discuss with Living Streets and Spokes. Decisions will ultimately depend on SG’s guidance. They will not go through the full Traffic Management Review Panel but probably via associated CEC officers.
    • R Leech was happy for CCTT to make its views known to anyone, including TMRP.

6 Review of draft dashboard

R Leech noted that TT aims to give CCTT the same information it provides to everyone else, so that all groups have the same data-sets. He provided some examples of what the future dashboards will contain once work has re-commenced, noting that these DO NOT show real data.

The dashboards will provide forecast and actual activities completed each month, enabling a ‘sense of progress’. They will also include quality metrics based on non-conformance reports that have been closed or remain open for the month; non-conformance reports showing work being done outside specification; and environmental metrics showing levels of compliance with standards on behaviours, dust, emergency access, fencing, work-hours, litter, treatment of the public, noise, required notices, parking, PPE, site-housekeeping, waste-management, waste water etc. These data are gathered from daily checks on compliance by site-teams, weekly checks by project managers and monthly checks by the leadership team.

A dashboard will also be provided showing stakeholder and communication data. This will include:

  • Summary of average time to resolve an issue, number of issues notified in last 30 days and in total, number of issues resolved in last 30 days and in total, percentage of issues resolved at first contact and overall number of interactions
  • Number of issues raised per week, and numbers taking 10 or more days to resolve
  • Sources of all enquiries (classified as email, portal, chat, phone, Twitter)
  • Numbers of issues by status (resolved, pending, first escalation, waiting on customer, open)
  • Classes of enquiry that are taking longest to resolve, and average number of hours taken to resolve each class of enquiry. Classes include ‘not for SFN’, ‘potential claims’, ‘parking’ ‘utility-related’, ‘waste’, ‘Constitution St site excavation’ and ‘support for business’.
  • Top 5 types of enquiry, and numbers of such enquiries
  • Aerage time to resolve issues by source.

There was discussion of whether and how to publish this data on the TT website and other comms channels.

  • It was suggested that such detailed data would be difficult to comprehend without full explanations, and that these would be provided to CCTT, Trams All-Party Oversight Group etc.
  • Such discussions would actions to resolve undesirable trends
  • Information would be presented in more ‘digestible’ ways on public media.
  • All data is obtainable via Freedom of Information requests.

H Tobermann stated that he was very happy overall with the examples, but might submit feedback on some details, depending on exactly what transpired.

7 Improvements to (pedestrian) connectivity during construction

7.a Leith Links buses

It was noted that the service 12 route now terminates earlier than before, hence no longer servicing Leith Links.

  • R Leech noted that this is a big issue for some local residents, and that it may be a permanent change. Hence, just before lockdown started, RL and other senior TT staff met with senior LB staff and with representatives of MSPs. LB’s modeler attended this meeting, and is now considering this issue.
  • Action: RL to chase this issue with LB.

7.b Easter Road to Leith Walk: shuttle bus(?), fixing uneven pavement, removing obstacles

R Leech noted that all public transport operators are now facing financial difficulties due to severely reduced revenue, hence it is highly unlikely Lothian Buses will be in a position to run shuttle-buses.

  • Hence TT has considered running a minibus shuttle, but minibuses have minimal capacity due to distancing requirements. Also, people are reluctant to use public transport at the moment. Hence TT is considering a ‘dial a ride’ service for mobility-impaired people etc but understands that likely users are vulnerable to covid-19. Despite these factors, TT recognises that it must do something.
  • RL noted that: (1) tram-ridership has decreased due to covid-19, but should rise as lockdown eases; (2) covid-19 has demonstrated needs for change in transport provisions.

H Tobermann noted that bus-users need to traverse between Leith Walk and Easter Rd to access return-routes, hence need to use cross-roads. Therefore these roads need to be well maintained and their pavements need to be optimised.

  • R Leech agreed that TT needed to check that these roads are safe and useable. He asked for input on specific issues.
  • HT noted that TT’s Dalmeny St compound currently occupies around 1/3 of the pavement.
  • Action: S Jackson to ensure this is checked

7.c Interactions (if any) of £5m pop-up projects with planned tram construction diversions

H Tobermann noted that SG has enabled funding for pop-up changes. In Edinburgh, proposals include changes to Easter Rd.

  • HT noted that his change would include widening pavements to better enable physical distancing.
  • HT asked whether this change in particular would affect tram-related traffic diversions.
  • HT noted that none of the ~40 proposals on CEC’s list concern Leith Walk. Hence HT also asked whether such potential changes to Leith Walk had been left to TT.
  • C Wilson stated that changes to the road between the two parts of Leith Links had worked well, in his experience.
  • A Hardie responded that this had been debated at LLCC – some cyclists had been behaving poorly.
  • Action: TT to consider these questions and report back

8 CCTT update: any local issues during current mothballed state

  • M Birch asked whether plans recognised that numbers of deliveries to homes had greatly increased. He suggested that logistics hubs might need to change to accommodate this.
  • R Leech responded that hubs are staffed ‘all day, every day’ and should be sufficient. However, he recognised that TT needs to monitor this, and take action if necessary.
  • H Tobermann requested that barriers on Leith Walk which have been made untidy are sorted before this causes issues.
  • It was agreed that materials for consulting with CCTT should be sent to H Tobermann, and material informing CCs should be sent to them (and CCed to HT)

9 Next meeting

25 June 2020

It was noted that this experience of Google Meeting had not been optimal.