Statement for immediate release
The email announcing that the contractor for the current phase of the Leith Walk repair works (Iona Street to Brunswick Street) has gone into administration came yesterday late afternoon.
There have been indications for a while that work had slowed down, but this latest development has come as a complete shock. We are seeking urgent clarification on how this will impact on the current work sites in various states of completion south of Pilrig Street and the Iona Street compound, and – most importantly – on the overall progress of getting the Leith Walk works completed all the way to Picardy Place roundabout.
We understand that prior to the contract being awarded comprehensive assessments of the contractor’s financial stability were obtained by the Council. This being so, this would be the first time in the 10 year saga of Leith Walk on/off repairs that the Council does not have to shoulder the blame for the delays and costs that no doubt will come in the wake of this latest development.
Whether there will be further reputational damage will depend entirely on how quickly this situation is recovered, and the relevant clauses in the contract:
- Is there a sufficiently sized performance bond in place, shielding the project from any financial fallout?
- Is the works documentation up to date, to allow work to be picked up smoothly by replacement contractors?
- If the works do not continue in the immediate future with a new contractor and complete before the summer break as planned, will residents and businesses be compensated?
- Will the various work sites be supervised and protected adequately in the meantime?
- Will the snagging of the completed works around Pilrig Street be addressed promptly to restore confidence?
It has been said that one should ‘never let a crisis go to waste’. Is this the wake up call that was needed to make the reinstatement of one of Edinburgh’s top three streets a top Council priority?
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