Trams Business Consultation through September

(adapted from an email from the Edinburgh Council ‘Trams To Newhaven’ Team)

Businesses along the planned tram route to Newhaven will have their say on a raft of support for business proposals in a new consultation beginning next week.
In developing the proposals, Edinburgh Council is seeking to maintain the vibrancy, desirability and accessibility of the streets effected by the project during construction, supporting the diverse and independent range of businesses that exist along the route.

The online consultation will run from the 3rd to the 30th September 2018 and will seek views on a number of proposed measures in a support for business package totalling £2.48 million.

In recognising that the proposed tram works have the potential to effect business as usual in the local area, the Council would like to hear feedback from the local business community on a set of measures to help maintain the vibrancy, vitality and accessibility of the local area.

Some of the proposed measures have been developed following feedback from local traders, members of the public and interest groups who took part in the first round of public consultation.

The online consultation will outline each proposed measure and gives details on how much funding could be made available for each element. Some of the measures have the potential to make a longer-term impact beyond construction, leaving a lasting legacy.

In the consultation, respondents will also be asked to assess the merits of a range of business support proposals to be funded by the Council, namely:

  • A business continuity fund of £500,000 to help small independent businesses with short-term cash flow issues
  • Façade improvements – total investment of £500,000: a fund to pay for facade improvements or repairs, regular window for worksite-facing businesses
  • On street local guides – total investment of £400,000: to provide local advice and assistance eg help for those with impaired mobility
  • Business skills development – total investment fund of £100,000: eg website design and development, email marketing, social media best practice etc
  •  A Council-funded Business Development Champion (Legacy  included  as part of the business skills development fund: to help businesses build on their business case and plans for the years ahead
  • Investing in the arts during construction – total investment fund of £100,000: supporting local arts groups, artists and festivals
  • Market nights and shopping festivals– total investment of £100,000: eg day and monthly markets
  • Wider Open for Business campaign – total investment of £100,000: alongside the promotional campaign delivered by the contractor. This could include a digital open for business promotional campaign across the web, email and social media, wider wayfinding across the city for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, advertising banners on key approaches and digital screens, etc
  • Local discount / voucher scheme – total investment of £50,000 
  • Targeted deliveries – total investment of £25,000: for example, use of cargo bikes and an app to act as a one-stop shop for people who want to shop local and arrange delivery of their goods.

In addition to the above measures the Contractor has been asked, as part of their tender, to make provision for a series of measures that will help to sustain business during construction, these are estimated to cost in the region of £500,000. These include: strategically located logistics hubs which can be used to store goods short-term and handle the movement of goods for the last or first mile of their journey; local transport hubs for parking, deliveries and temporary bus stops; wayfinding support, such as signage, maps and multiple crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists through the worksite; as well as an Open for Business promotional campaign.

After the consultation concludes on 30th September, the Trams to Newhaven project team will finalise support for business plans, which will be included in the Final Business Case due to go before councillors in late 2018.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, said: “If the project goes ahead, supporting businesses along the route, both during and after construction works, will be a top priority. From next week, we’ll be inviting businesses’ views on a raft of support for business proposals through our online consultation. We want to ensure that the range of measures we would put in place if the project gets the green light caters to everyone’s needs as effectively as possible. The over-arching aim is to make sure the whole area stays as vibrant and accessible as possible, not just during but also beyond the essential construction phase.

“Plans for taking Trams to Newhaven continue to take shape and we’re hugely indebted to businesses, residents and interested organisations for all their help in developing the proposals. We were delighted with the significant level of engagement and feedback in the first phase of public consultation in the spring. We then held a series of very useful workshops to focus on key points brought up during that six-week consultation process. The project team is currently using all the feedback to refine the plans ahead of further engagement at the start of October. This will feed into the Final Business Case going before councillors at the end of the year.”