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.
The minutes of their most recent meeting, held on Thursday 29 November 2018 at 17:30 in Leith Community Centre were recently published and have been reproduced below for your information.
|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
1 Welcome, introductions
||TT/TN project director (Anturas Consulting)
||CCTT minutes secretary
2 Update from CCTT
A Mackenzie reported that some CS residents met with their CEC councillors, D Wraight and 3 members of LLCC. This meeting was about the design options from the Foot of the Walk to Queen Charlotte St. It was also to ensure that the CEC councillors were aware of the CS residents’ views. AM also stated that meeting was useful, but the CS residents’ issues remain in need of further consideration.
H Tobermann reported that the CCTT steering group will soon compile a list of outstanding issues along the route, and share that with TT asap.
- This list may be ranked by importance to CCTT.
- It was noted that J Marlborough has complied such a list for LHNCC’s area, of the format.
- The list will be accompanied by a request for information on how TT intends to solve the issues.
- Action: H Tobermann to circulate a template to the four CCs. CCs to supply their issues so that HT can submit its list by 12 December.
It was noted that LCCC has ratified CCTT’s submission to the second trams consultation, and that NTBCC has also sent in its own submission.
3 Update from Tram Team
R Leech reported that his colleagues Hannah and Steve gave a presentation to the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils. This presentation was high level, rather than detailed, concentrating on the question ‘why are we doing this?’ The response was mixed: some supporting the proposed project, others suggesting the money would be better spent on roads.
- It was noted that EACC does not speak for LCCC and NTBCC.
R Leech reported that TT has received the BAFO tenders, and finalised their evaluation. This will go before the TN board on 3 December, with a recommendation to agree the pricing for the FBC, so that it is ready to go through board approval in January. This will be a formal committee process before the FBC is sent to CEC, but there will be no publicity around this.
The FBC will state how much of the £165 m budget would be spent on the ISC and the SPC. (The SPC costs are already known.) The budget also covers risk, inflation etc.)
3.b Consultation2: initial feedback
R Leech reported
- The Support for Business (SFB) consultation has closed. Analysis will go before TAPOG on 12 December, with initial recommendations. These are generally positive but some elements of SFB proposals are clearly preferred over others.
- Analysis of the design consultation is not yet finished. There were fewer respondents than for the first design consultation, but the feedback has been generally positive.
R Leech suggested bringing the SFB and design presentations that will be seen by TAPOG to the next CCTT/TT meeting, along with resulting actions.
H Tobermann suggested that businesses currently much uncertainty (e.g. from Brexit), that businesses in the relevant area will experience a major impact from [construction of] TN, and that current uncertainty is likely to be exacerbated by current lack of implementation detail in the SFB package. Hence CCTT will push hard for resources to finalise such details and hence minimise [TN-related] uncertainty.
- R Leech responded that this would be worth exploring in the next CCTT/TT meeting. He added that the fine detail of the SFB will be worked out with the successful contractor.
- H Tobermann reiterated the point in CCTT’s submission that the best way to think about such issues was to consider ‘life during construction’. R Leech concurred.
- C Encombe added that the previous tram work had been ad-hoc and hence far more unpleasant than was necessary. She noted that LCCC now has a clean streets committee that is likely to ‘police’ LCCC’s area during construction.
- R Leech stated that a report on the [SFB and design consultation] analyses will be shared with CCTT. He is not yet sure how analyses will be made public, but a ‘”you said, we did” + action plan’ publication is likely. He anticipated that this would cover some of the issues raised by CCTT.
- R Leech suggested that the remaining issues will be around fine detail, e.g. ‘this loading bay doesn’t work’.
4 Outstanding design issues and permanent TROs post construction including:
The discussion moved from item 3b to item 4 without a noticeable break.
Items 4q to 4e in the agenda were not discussed in any detail because D Wraight was not present.
J Marlborough expressed concern that consultation 2 concentrated on Leith Walk, and did not fully cover LHNCC’s area. She suggested that respondent analysis is broken down by area.
- R Leech responded that the majority of the changes in the plans in consultation 2 were in the centre of the route, but that consultation 2 covered all of the route.
R Leech stated that the design must be completely finalised by summer/early autumn 2019. He added that when the FBC is presented, the fundamentals of the design (e.g. the number of traffic and tram lanes) will be fixed. A need for fundamental changes would cause the project to halt. However, the detail in J Marlborough’s list is not fundamental and so can be carried forward to the next stage.
C Nimmo asked about NTBCC and local residents’ concerns, including the right turn from London Road onto LW.
- R Leech responded that in his opinion, this turn would not work [during and after construction]. However, he acknowledged that a full explanation of this was needed, so such concerns should be included in CCTT’s list of outstanding issues.
C Nimmo stated that to the best of her knowledge traffic modelling has not been undertaken.
- R Leech responded that it has been done in the past, but that CN may have heard that it is waiting to be updated.
- Decision: It was agreed to add this to the list of CCTT concerns, for discussion at a meeting with NTBCC and residents.
- Action: When TT receives CCTT’s list , TT will check the list for ‘fundamental’ issues
o R Leech added that non-fundamental issues can be covered by the risk and contingency budget lines.
- H Tobermann requested a ‘first-pass’ response to CCTT’s list asap.
H Tobermann added that CCTT has compiled its own timeline of TN events..
- Action: R Leech to send TT’s own timeline to CCTT, so that CCTT and TT are using the same timeline.
H Tobermann reported that some CEC officials do not know that TN is happening, or significant relevant dates.
- R Leech responded that TN has a project board (including senior CEC officers from finance, procurement, legal, transport) chaired by the executive director of Place. The board is briefed on TN timetable at its monthly meetings. There is also a technical working group, including [representatives from] all CEC departments involved in the TN. They are also briefed on timescales and their own input to this. There are also ad-hoc meetings with various CEC departments. Hence if CEC officials appear to be unaware of TN, they are acting incorrectly in some way.
- H Tobermann added that if relevant CEC officials are unaware, he fears for the supplementary projects and other projects that might clash with TN under their control. He emphasised that this lack of awareness was not TT’s fault.
J Marlborough asked whether the frequency of use of LW by emergency services has been taken into account, given that she sees such vehicles responding to emergencies whenever she visits LW. She added that the police use Constitution St regularly.
- R Leech responded that TT has set up a traffic management review panel (including Lothian Buses, CEC, emergency services). It will meet regularly during construction. Emergency services will always have a clear route through construction. An in-progress part of the design process is considering how a clear route after construction. If an accident blocked the route, trams ‘up the line’ [and other traffic] would be stopped so that they didn’t cause further congestion.
R Leech stated that the TROs timeline is currently unknown.
- This is because the TROs depend on feedback from CCTT and others.
- D Wraight is assembling a note on the TRO process, considering statutory timescales, CEC needs etc.
- This matter will be on a future CCTT/TT agenda.
4.a Design issues
See also appendix, item 8a.
R Leech stated
- D Wraight is working on optimising bin locations etc. However, bins are CEC’s waste team’s responsibility, ultimately under the control of CEC’s director of place. Also, RL has a strong relationship with G Barwell, head of CEC’s waste division, who is very much alive to TN and working towards getting the bin situation right.
- Work on bus-stop locations is in progress. This work considers the proposed 2-lane layout, pinch-points, bus trackers, signage etc. TT is ‘hooked in’ with J White, Lothian Buses’ operations manager. He has been working on traffic management plans and deigns. There is also a technical working group including Lothian Buses to finalise relevant parts of the design. This work will be completed over the next 2 months.
- He is not currently sure of the progress towards solving TN-related parking issues. He is aware that Corstorphine is the CEC area that will first be promoted into a CPZ, and that Leith will be second, but has no power to influence this.
o H Tobermann was unconvinced that Corstorphine should be first, considering it is not having a tramline installed.
4.b Extract from Tram Design Manual
See appendix, item 8b.
H Tobermann asked whether this edition of the manual is current. R Leech stated that the principles are but this version has been superseded because street guidance has moved on very much in 13 years.
H Tobermann then asked what standards TT is working to, to which R Leech replied that there were very many.
Action: R Leech to supply details of guidance currently used by TT (This info is to come from Atkins.)
5 Review and update of tram pre/construction programme
Action: as noted previously, R Leech to send TT’s timeline to CCTT
R Leech confirmed that BAFO tenders arrived on 16 November, and that the relevant board meeting is on 3 December.
H Tobermann reported that he regularly checks whether Lord Hardie is due to publish his report on the issues in the initial Edinburgh tram construction, that he has found thorugh FOI that the cost of the enquiry is likely to soon exceed £10 m, and that it is highly desirable for the report to come out before TN gets too far.
6 Next meeting (10 January 2019)
6.a to agree: main topic: quantification of environmental benefits for area along tram corridor: before, during and after tram project
R Leech asked for clarification of the question CCTT is asking about the environmental aspects of TN.
- H Tobermann responded that CCTT feels it does not have sufficient information from the TT, and that the existing environmental impact assessment (EIA) is from 2006, i.e. out of date. Hence it needs to be updated to reflect what is going to be built in 2019-2022.
- That is CCTT wishes robust assurance that TN will provide a net environmental benefit from the start of construction until some years into its running life. He suggested that traffic modelling could aid such calculations.
- There was discussion of the difficulty and various methods of proving environmental effects, e.g. effect of the new housing to be built in Leith, working from current car numbers, types and pollution levels.
- R Leech reminded the meeting that he must follow the Tram Act’s requirements.
- B Ryan asked whether the Act precluded an up-to-date full EIA being undertaken.
Action: H Tobermann to supply to TT detail of what is sought, including information on CEC’s LEZ staff; R Leech to respond to this
Action: main subject of next meeting to be the ‘you said, we did’. (See item 3b, bullet point 6 above.)
6.b to agree: (proxy) evidence to share in advance of the January meeting
Carried forward to a future meeting when environmental benefits are discussed
6.c to note: minute taker in January
Action: C Encombe to take this meeting’s minutes
H Tobermann mentioned an email from Michael Motion of Turner Townsend, inviting CCTT to a meeting on 11 December (2pm to 6pm, venue TBC) about the Foot of the Walk to Ocean Terminal cycle way feasibility study. Action: HT to circulate this invitation.
- R Leech stated that the meeting is to agree the objectives and scope of this project. He added that AECOM has been appointed to undertake a ‘route-optioneering’ exercise. There will then be a public consultation to sift options.
It was noted that Rory Garriock is now undertaking TN analysis and planning work, rather than being TT’s public face.
People who wish to contact TN/TT should email email@example.com. This address is monitored daily.
8.a Extract from CCTT response to consultation 2
Design issues: while many of the initial concerns have been resolved with the current designs, more detailed design work is required
- in a few locations (especially at Ocean Drive, Constitution Street south; Shrub Place, Picardy Place)
- optimising communal bin locations
- refining bus stops/bays/shelters locations and dimensions
- resolving issues around pavement/cycling/bus stop interactions at a number of locations
- parking/loading locations (including side streets).
CCTT believes that this can be achieved in the available time, but such detailing may require additional design resources and a sincere engagement with the people most affected.
8.b Extract from Tram Design Manual 2005
A Commensurate Quality of Townscape and Public Realm Design
2.9 The proposed tram system is important not only as a new public transport project but also, as a strategic piece of new development, to act as an important catalyst and promote quality design within the townscape and public realm of the city.
2.10 Partnership working will be needed to ensure that an appropriate strategy for Edinburgh’s wider public realm can be put in place to complement works undertaken as part of the tram project. Fitting the tram route and its alignment into the townscape is the first stage of the design process. An understanding of the urban design issues that apply to a section of the tram route or a specific space along the route are required in order to achieve quality of design. This wider townscape assessment is essential in order for the tram to fit comfortably within a wider public realm and to realise the opportunity to improve the quality of streets and public spaces to a level commensurate with the quality of the city’s built heritage.
2.11 In order to ensure that a piecemeal approach is avoided, a joint programme of public realm works must be drawn up by the Council with input from key stakeholders, in tandem with the proposed tram implementation programme. This is essential to minimise disruption on site and to minimise abortive works.