Dear Councillor Hinds,
At the meeting of 25 March, Leith Central CC took notice of the T&E report (item 14) that was agreed on 19 March 2013 regarding implementation of the £5.5m Leith Walk reinstatement programme.
In particular, the implementation timeline for Leith Walk between the Foot of the Walk and Pilrig Street from September 2013 and continued vagueness for the section from Pilrig Street to Picardy Place (with no concrete date set) caused substantial consternation.
This further delay comes on top of:
- Leith Walk suffering from tram/utilities disruptions and uncertainties since 2007: for some 4 years
- Leith Walk stakeholders were promised reinstatement in 2011: a wait of 2 years
- the design life of the reinstatement works is 7 years (after which new repair works – or even an extended tram route – will cause new disruptions)
It makes no sense to wait two years (and more) for a solution that last only seven years, neither financially nor economically. Delays are costly – but especially for Leith Walk users: if there are 40,000 users per day, and everyone is inconvenienced to the tune of 10p (a conservative estimate) through delays, damage from potholes, accidents, pollution, postponed or abandoned investment/development decisions, loss of business, etc, this translates into £1.5m pa. In other words: the 2 year prevarication over the implementation of the £5.5m programme has already cost £3m.
This is unacceptable.
Our impression is that there is a lack of focus and, possibly, design and project management resource that has caused the delay. This is something that could be remedied fairly swiftly, now that further decision making has been delegated. Our impression that there is such a shortage has been reinforced by the absence of programme management information. One recent example: nightly Constitution Street parking restrictions and partial closure starting on Monday were notified on Monday morning. Hardly evidence of a programme!
We would therefore ask for the following:
- increased professional programme management and design resource to speed up programme implementation and quality monitoring
- for a programme representative to attend all LCCC meetings until works have been completed
- detailed feedback on the substantial consultation document submitted by LCCC in partnership with other local organisations in the presence of the Council’s designers to allow us to understand the decision making in sufficient detail and to regain trust
- preparation of a detailed realistic project plan which serves as a baseline to compare any future delays against
Roland L Reid
Leith Central Community Council
cc: John Bury, Acting Head of Transport