Leith Programme Stakeholder Update 90 – Various

Adapted from an email sent by Alan Dean, Partnership Development Officer, sent on 2016_10_19 at 16:31.

Annotations (in footnotes) are by Harald Tobermann, LCCC’s stakeholder representative for Leith Walk works.

I have set out below an update for the various projects currently underway. It is worth emphasising that the consultation period for the Phase 5 Traffic Regulation Order (Brunswick Street to Montgomery Street) is being extended and details of this are also set out below.

Phase 4 (Pilrig Street to Brunswick Street)

  • Our contractor’s inability to start work on the Pilrig Street junction upgrade due to the Scottish Gas Networks mains replacement works not being clear of the McDonald Road junction was disappointing, however they are focussing just now on two footway area upgrades at Crighton Place and Shrubhill, in addition to working closely with the contractors of the new Places for People development at Shrubhill to create the new site entrance. Regular liaison is taking place with Scottish Gas, who have encountered some unavoidable [see footnote 1] technical difficulties, and, as soon as we have a definite date on which their works will be moving southwards [see footnote 2], our contractors will be ready to commence with the Pilrig Street junction improvements which are due to take 7 weeks to complete.
  • Notification of the traffic management arrangements involving the closure of Pilrig Street [see footnote 3] at the junction with Leith Walk will follow as soon as possible. Residents will be notified ahead of works by contractor letter drop, on street signage and usual Council media streams.

Phase 5 Traffic Regulation Order (Brunswick Street to Montgomery Street) – Extension to consultation

  • Since launching the formal consultation for the next phase of the Leith Programme we have had a very good level of engagement and, as a result, have decided to extend the consultation period in order to hear more people’s views. We will be formally advertising the proposed Traffic Regulation Order again on Friday 28 October and people will have until 25 November to respond with comments (both supportive and objections). We will be emailing those who have already responded to let them know that they do not need to resubmit their comments as these will be considered in November following the end of the additional consultation period.
  • As well as extending the consultation period, we will also be holding a drop-in surgery at the McDonald Road library on Thursday 10 Novemberbetween 3:00 and 7:00pm. This will be an opportunity for anyone who would like more information to speak informally with Council officers present. Letters will be going out to local people in the surrounding area to invite them along.

Interim road repair works

  • In response to a number of resident and community group requests [see footnote 4], the Council will be carrying out localised carriageway patching which will cover the areas from Picardy Place roundabout to the Brunswick Road junction on Leith Walk. The works are due to commence on Sunday 23rd October and last for approximately seven weeks.
  • In order to minimise disruption, the works will be carried out on Sunday to Thursday nights between 23 October and 7 December.
  • Should the contractor’s progress exceed the programme, all efforts will be made to accelerate the works in order to gain an early completion

Bernard Street – Site investigations

  • As part of the detailed planning underway ahead of a Council decision on whether or not to extend the tram line, limited surveying and investigative work is required to confirm in greater detail information relating to the location of underground services at the Bernard Street junction. [see footnote 5]
  • The surveying work has already been successfully carried out and a physical site investigation is due to take place. The work will commence on 7th November and is expected to last around 6 days and will involve the digging of slit trenches at localised areas around the junction. In order to minimise disruption to traffic and local residents and businesses, each of the trenches will be restricted to single traffic lanes to ensure all roads remain open during the works with traffic management in operation

St James Development

  • You may be aware of recent media coverage confirming the future commencement of the St James development. The old shopping centre has now closed and work will begin immediately on the demolition [see footnote 6] and construction of this exciting development. John Lewis will continue to operate throughout the works and a new entrance has been created on Leith Street for customers. Please be assured that we are continuing to work with the developers on works interface matters in order to ensure an integrated delivery of the major projects happening in the area.

We are aware that there is a lot of development work going on in the wider area over and above the Leith Programme and we are keen to try to provide you with as much information as we can regarding the integrated working approach we are taking in order to ensure a smooth interface between each of the projects.

We hope you find this information useful and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require further information.

Alan Dean BA (Hons) MSc | Project Officer (Leith Programme/Tram Enabling) | Place Directorate | City Centre Leith Neighbourhood Team | 249 High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1PN
Tel: 0131 529 7519     Mobile: 07739 188 438     Email 

[1]   ‘unavoidable difficulties’? This depends whether one is prepared to refer to the absence of accurate mapping of the underground pipes and cables as ‘unavoidable’. At a site meeting I requested last week with Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) and CEC representatives, this was established as the single most important reason for the delay. Another cause for delay arose from the sad fact that – prior to SGN’s current excavations – it was not known (had not been recorded) that the previous Tram utility diversion works had used foam concrete to back-fill their holes, which needs far greater care during subsequent excavations. I shall share this information with the Tram Enquiry.

[2]   SGN’s second phase of works south from the current location (just short of Montgomery Street) will cover only around 30 metres and is expected to take a further three weeks.

[3]   Why wait for SGN works at Brunswick Road to complete before starting Leith Walk repair works Phase 4 at Pilrig Street? This allows traffic to flow through the Leith Walk/McDonald Rd junction, with the latter acting as relief route while Pilrig Street is closed.

[4]   This is very welcome – if long overdue – and something LCCC has asked for on more than one occasion. The temporary works will make this stretch safer to use – especially for cyclists – while we wait for permanent Phase 5 works for this section to get underway. At the current rate, Phase 5 is not expected to be on site before summer 2017 with completion in spring/summer 2018…

[5]   Translation: no-one bothered to record accurately the utility works during the tram works (nor during the more recent ‘Leith Programme’ works. Another one for the Tram Enquiry…

[6]   LCCC have repeatedly requested that that logistics of demolition and construction inasmuch as they impact on the Leith Walk area are settled. The last outline plans we heard involved 200 lorries’ worth demolition debris per day, 6 days per week for several months – almost certainly down the freshly repaired Leith Walk – and a very ambitious sounding scheme of construction deliveries.

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