Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 26 July 2018

(LCCC apologises for delayed publication of the following. This was due to personal holidays. In future, CCTT/TT meeting minutes will be published much sooner after the meetings.)

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, held in Leith Community Education Centre on Thursday 26 July at 6:00pm

Abbreviations

  • CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams
  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CPZ = controlled parking zone
  • SPC = swept-path contract
  • TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
  • TfE = transport for Edinburgh
  • TN = Trams to Newhaven project
  • TRO = traffic regulation order
  • TT = trams team

1 Welcome and introductions

1.1 Attendance

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/Leith Central CC Sally Millar CCTT/Leith Links CC (substitute)
Angus Hardie CCTT/Leith Links CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Rob Leech TT/TN project director (Anturas Consuting) Harald Tobermann CCTT/Leith Central CC
Rob Levick CCTT/Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC Darren Wraight TT/CEC
Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC

1.2 Apologies

Carol Nimmo and Allan Jack from New Town & Broughton CC were unable to attend.

1 Terms of reference

It was agreed that the minutes secretary will record meetings only for the purposes of creating accurate minutes, and that these recordings would be deleted when the relevant minutes had been approved.

It was agreed to postpone formal discussion and acceptance of terms of reference. (D Wraight later stated that he is happy to take comments on terms of reference in Hannah Ross’ absence.) However, it was agreed that

  • these meetings should initially occur monthly (last Thursday of each month), until circumstances mandate otherwise.
  • all four CCs in CCTT each have two ‘normal’ delegates to CCTT, plus 1 substitute in case the others are unavailable.

It was noted that

  • the four CCs are in the process of delegating speaking on tram matters to CCTT
  • these meetings are not for making decisions, but to provide a forum for and record of conversations and information-exchange
  • any meeting may agree a subsequent meeting’s agenda
  • it may also be agreed to consult other relevant people at future meetings.

D Wraight noted that it is common practice for projects such as Trams to Newhaven (TN) to have community engagement fora. Hence he and Rory Garriock suggested creating such a forum for TN about 8 weeks ago. It was always his intention that this forum would start around now, continue during and after construction (if CEC decides to proceed with TN), at least until the end of the snagging period. He envisaged that the feeling of the meeting may change as the project progresses, e.g. hearing updates from contractors, project managers etc, and that the membership of the forum might change to enable representation of other parts of the community. He acknowledged that CCTT now represents the community councils through which TN would pass, and agreed that these CCTT/TT meetings are the envisaged engagement forum.

H Tobermann noted that CCTT’s focus is to work with TT to discuss TN matters up to the point that the final business case is approved or rejected (currently due in December), aiming to ensure the highest possible quality of work and finished product, potentially by pushing for more time to achieve this before the business-case decision. At that point, the forum might well change format and frequency as appropriate.

J Marlborough noted that these meetings cover the entire route, rather than on individual ‘patches’.

At this point, delegates outlined their roles – see section 1A above. It was noted that R Leech (who works for Anturas Consulting: lead advisor to CEC) reports to D Wraight (CEC’s senior interface manager and deputy senior responsible officer), and that they have a history of successful collaboration. It was noted that Harald Tobermann is spokesperson for CCTT.

2 Project introduction

R Leech reported

  • There are two work-streams leading to the final business case:
    • the tendering process for the swept-path contract (SPC) to deal with utilities and the infrastructure and systems contract (ISC) for the main tram works
    • design developmentof TN.
  • The successful contractors would work in tandem, i.e. traffic will be managed in an area, the SPC contractor will do its part, creating a ‘bow-wave’ ahead of the ISC construction (which will be immediately behind it), then the traffic management will be removed. This was how the original tram project was completed between Haymarket and York Place after 2011 when R Leech took over. (Previously, all utility works were done, then the road was relaid, then construction occurred.)
    • Tenders are due to be received from bidding contractors in August.
    • This may have the advantage that ‘mid-tender mark-up’ is now done, enabling faster processing based on a ‘clean’ set of conditions.
    • Tenders were originally due in July but the collapse of Carillion has contributed to lengthened tendering processes, mainly because contractors are now undertaking full due diligence, and talking with project directors etc, before starting to create their tenders. No further ill effects from Carillion are anticipated for TN.
    • It was noted that the Leith Programme has suffered from the collapse of two contractors. Hence TT has used and will continue to use external/independent companies including Dun & Bradstreet (https://www.dnb.co.uk ) to assess potential and appointed contractors’ finances.
      • While such checks are not foolproof because they are based on the contractors’ accounts, which report how the company was 18 months ago, not how it is right now, TT will insist on rolling 6-monthly financial checks.
    • Guarantees are also being sought from potential contractors’ parent companies or larger subsidiaries, as are collateral warranties so that if the main contractor collapses, TT has direct access to their supply chain to continue the project. Contracting joint ventures also include ‘joint and several liability’ provisons, so that if one contractor collapses, other contractors are responsible for completing the project.
  • The tenders will then be evaluated to obtain the market price for TN.
    • There are four preferred bidders.
    • Bids for the ISC will be judged on price (60% of ‘marks’) & quality (40%).
    • Concerning quality, EU rules specify bidders must have undertaken similar projects previously to be short-listed.
    • Previous work cannot be used in the final choice: judgment is based on how bidders would deliver quality, e.g. how well they would manage traffic, staff quotas, staff experience, deliver community benefits (such as using local suppliers, local labour, tie-ins with local economy. [D Wraight noted that in another project, the contractor painted a local primary school.])
    • The full scoring scheme is confidential, but the successful bidder’s proposed community benefits are likely to be published.
      • H Tobermann reported that in other CEC projects, the successful bidder’s scores have been published, along with the anonymised runner-up’s scores.
      • R Leech stated that this will be part of the tender evaluation, which will go before CEC’s finance and resource committee, as a matter of public record.
  • Design development is occurring in parallel with the tender process.
    • Redesign is being undertaken to take account of the consultations that have already taken place.
    • Consultations on the outputs of this redesign will take place in September.
    • This redesign is about design principles – once a contractor has been selected, their designers will be involved in a longer design period lasting into 2019.
    • However, once the principles are agreed, this will enable finalisation of the economic evaluation for the final business case.
    • This will go before CEC’s transport and environment committee on 6 December 2018, then potentially referred to full council on 13 December.
    • Contracts would be signed early in 2019.
  • There would then be ‘early contractor involvement’ (currently specified as 5 months, but subject to extension under extraordinary conditions). In this period, TT would work with the contractor particularly on design development and traffic management planning. This is to ensure that the swept-path (utilities) process enables enough space for construction, and to enable the SPC contractor to liaise with utility companies. There would be no construction in this period.
    • The SPC and ISC construction would not be a single process from one end of the TN route to the other: there will be simultaneous phases.
    • SPC work would be between approximately 8 and 12 weeks ahead of ISC construction, depending on circumstances. This is because while TT has some idea of what needs to be done, there may be unexpected utilities tasks.
    • TT would also have its own utilities manager for relationships between the SPC contractor and utilities companies.
    • Much of the main utilities have already been moved, but from experience of the original tram project there will still be much to do, in part because some previous preparatory (‘MUDFA’) work on the TN route was not done well.
  • There are two main reasons for keeping construction on schedule:
    • avoiding inflation
    • retaining momentum and expertise (which also has economic benefits, e.g. reduced salary costs).
  • There are no bonus payments for early delivery, and there is no pressure to complete the project by any specific date.

2.1 Questions and answers

  • Concerning traffic circulation and parking, C Encombe noted that a report is due on whether there will be a controlled parking zone (CPZ) throughout north Edinburgh, and ask how this would affect TN work.
    • R Leech replied that TT is working on the assumption that there will be no CPZ during construction, so there will be three temporary car-parks for shoppers along Leith walk – these will move as work progresses. D Wraight will engage with CEC officials about parking management and enforcement.
  • Concerning trees, C Encombe asked when CCTT should pressure for ‘proper’ trees.
    • D Wraight replied that it would be best to discuss this during subsequent discussions on landscape and public realm. R Leech added that such matters affect costs, so it would be useful to discuss them in September.
  • S Millar asked whether such matters are ‘integral’ or ‘supplementary’ to the project design, and requested a list of supplementary projects.
    • Supplementary projects are about facilitating a range of other things, e.g. cycling from Kirkgate to Ocean Terminal. They will not be funded from the TN budget, but are ways to deliver TN’s benefits.
    • In response to a question from A Hardie, R Leech stated that TN is not strictly part of an overall Leith programme but is an ‘enabler’ of various CEC objectives. Hence ‘supplementary’ projects are those that would help TN to be successful but are not part of the final business case. However, he wishes them to be part of the whole TN programme albeit that is a decision for CEC.
    • In response to a question from H Tobermann, D Wraight stated that TT has is now creating a list of community requests from the consultation processes, and is now liaising with relevant CEC services (e.g. active travel, localities) from whose budget these features would be funded to scope and cost them.
    • R Leech added that the Tram Act enables core TN work, but that other work could be mandated by CEC via TROs, thus avoiding potential legislative delays.
    • H Tobermann asked what would happen to supplementary projects if the final business case cost was (1) less than the currently agreed £165 million borrowing limit; (2) exceeded this limit.
    • R Leech replied that borrowing for TN would be serviced from future TN revenues. If more than £165 would be needed, it would be unlikely for the final business case to succeed.
    • D Wraight added that TT wishes to enter the next phase of consultations able to say whether or not each supplementary project would go ahead, and to provide reasoning for each of these decisions.
    • C Encombe asked whether CCTT would have any say on prioritisation. Integrated ticketing is a priority for her, even though it may cost £2 million.
    • R Leech replied that the TT should discuss the list of supplementary projects with CTTT – he has no problem with sharing this list. D Wraight concurred, noting that some items from the consultations have already become part of the TN project. One example is the connectivity at Hawthornvale, which will be funded from TN, not other funding.
    • RL added that ‘integrated ticketing is absolutely and integral part of an integrated transport system’, but acknowledged that it is not in the present TN brief. He cited his experience of a project where all the relevant stakeholders had the same single owner but setting up integrated ticketing took 9 years. However, he suggested that TfE should promote integrated ticketing. (He cited an example from Sydney to explain the difference between ‘integrated’ and ‘automated’ ticketing.)

3 CCTT introduction and update

H Tobermann noted that

  • CCTT was launched on 29 June, and publicised to H Ross, CEC’sSenior Responsible Officer and head of TT, relevant CEC councillors including those who are on the tram all-party oversight group (TAPOG).
    • There has been a poor response from these councillors, perhaps due to holidays.
  • CCTT is likely to pressure these councillors for more time if CCTT feels it is needed, and/or for more funding for supplementary projects.
  • CCTT will meet as required but CCTT/TT meetings are likely to be its main forum, and CCTT will aim to be consensual.
  • Individual CCs may also separately engage with TT over very local matters, as may various local residents’ and business groups. However, CCs are the statutory representative bodies for everyone in their areas, and so will attempt to engage with relevant groups and represent relevant interests – but may invite such groups to these meetings.
  • It is good to build up rapport early. (D Wraight concurred, stating that is a major reason for such fora.)
  • Local groups might have their own agendas, which might differ slightly from CCTT’s agenda (set out in CCTT’s CCTT’s joint statement).

4 CCTT submission – design

(The following section revolves around the ‘design’ section of CCTT’s joint statement and press-release.)

We seek to ensure that the design philosophy, by which we mean the way in which the final designs are agreed and the manner in which the project is delivered, is informed by the following principles:

  • that the well-being of the people along the extended tram route is kept front and centre throughout the project.
  • that the design of the tram extension should be aligned with the city’s over-arching transport and design priorities of environmental improvement, reduction of traffic, and people-led ‘place-making’. It should preserve and enhance the frequency of pedestrian crossings at intervals which clearly demonstrate the priority of the pedestrian over the car user.
  • that TT/CEC acknowledge the tram route passes through a unique and complex eco-system of distinct communities, businesses, cultural spaces, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and spontaneous meeting places.
  • that the tram extension project, both in its design and delivery, should enhance this eco-system rather than diminish it, and in particular, this should focus on the complex inter-play between pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and car users.
  • that the insertion of major infrastructure into one of Edinburgh’s premier streets is focused on the highest possible quality of planning, execution and final outcome.

4.1 Introduction/summary by CCTT

H Tobermann noted that CCTT has received no feedback on this statement from TT or CEC, and that the statement had four key areas of concern: design, local economy, environmental benefits and readiness. He stated that TT needs to allay such concerns, by changing its position, convincing CCTT that promises will be kept and/or sharing plans and other evidence.

D Wraight stated that minutes of these meetings should become public documents, and that he is keen to be open and honest. It was agreed that minutes would be published on the CCs’ websites.

H Tobermann suggests that ‘design’ may have different meanings for TT and for CCTT. For CCTT, this word means the high-level design philosophy.

4.2 Response from TT; discussion (and if possible: agreement) on how, when and by whom these concerns could be/will be addressed and resolved

4.2.1 that the well-being of the people along the extended tram route is kept front and centre throughout the project

4.2.2 that the design of the tram extension should be aligned with the city’s over-arching transport and design priorities of environmental improvement, reduction of traffic, and people-led ‘place-making’. It should preserve and enhance the frequency of pedestrian crossings at intervals which clearly demonstrate the priority of the pedestrian over the car user.

D Wraight expressed hope that TT has already shown this via the various consultation processes, and stated that this would continue. He added that the more information TT could provide, the better informed it could become, subject to the proviso that parameters will get tighter as TN progresses.

  • A Hardie noted that communications are complex, and people may not understand at which level they are to react so that these meetings will help share with the wider community.
    • D Wraight suggested a ‘you said, we did (and why)’ approach.
    • S Miller responded that while ‘you said’ has been visible, ‘we did’ has not, leading to a feeling that TN was being presented as a fait accompli, led by engineering and commuter’s concerns rather than by local communities and people, and that such feelings have not completely gone, despite TT’s efforts.
  • D Wraight acknowledged that initially people felt the TN was being ‘thrust’ upon them but he hoped that this situation was improving.

R Leech said that the answer to these two points is ‘yes’, and asked how TT could convince CCTT of this.

  • C Encombe noted that CCTT and TT have got to know each other better over the past month, which helps.
  • H Tobermann asked why there were not workshops for all/more parts of the route. He acknowledged that more workshops would take time, but stated that this was a reason for allowing more time for consultation before work starts. He asked when TT would release designs that take on board all public input.
  • D Wraight responded that Atkins (TT’s designers) are currently working up revised designs based on feedback from the consultation processes – these will cover entire route, and are likely to be ready by the end of September, then he and S Jackson will review them to ensure they are free of errors. They will then be taken into the second phase of consultation. He intends to go through key consultation submissions (e.g. those from community councils, Sustrans, Cockburn Association) item by item to explain what has and has not changed. (It’s not possible to do this with every submission.)

R Leech added that TT will try to achieve point (ii)’s aims but cannot guarantee achievement of all of these.

  • H Tobermann noted that there have been examples of issues being well documented, but solutions being poorly implemented. Hence the wish for a checklist of what has and has not been included in the current redesign work, and ideally evidencethat the vast majority of CCTT’s wishes will be implemented.
  • D Wraight responded that, for example, Atkins have been instructed to follow street-design guidelines but that in some places complete adherence is impossible. He will be happy to show CCTT where designs have changed.

J Marlborough noted that there are very many concerns along the route.

  • D Wraight responded that while the first consultation phase is over, TT is still meeting with groups about their concerns.

4.2.3 that TT/CEC acknowledge the tram route passes through a unique and complex eco-system of distinct communities, businesses, cultural spaces, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and spontaneous meeting places.

D Wraight stated that TT/CEC do appreciate how vibrant and diverse Leith is, and has committed to try to maintain this throughout the project.

H Tobermann and other CCTT members noted that concerns originally arose from the early plans, which implied lack of understanding about Leith’s complexity, the importance of being able to cross streets, or how shops in Leith are supplied, and that Leith Walk has only just recovered from the previous tram-preparation works.

  • R Leech responded that such concerns link to CCTT’s economic concerns. Business support will be covered in a later meeting. The TT will meet with TAPOG next week to discuss options for supporting business. D Wraight added that he has learnt a lot about Leith during his time working on TN, and that such learning is essential.

4.2.4 that the tram extension project, both in its design and delivery, should enhance this eco-system rather than diminish it, and in particular, this should focus on the complex inter-play between pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and car users.

R Leech stated that TT would implement this wherever practical, noting that themes here are around integration and active travel but there are some practical reasons for not achieving everything that may be desired.

In response to a question from A Hardie, R Leech stated that active travel and public transport are primary concerns.

  • S Miller responded that some groups (e.g. cyclists) can lobby more strongly than others (e.g. pedestrians, bus-users), and that pedestrians with mobility impairments must be ‘in the forefront of consideration’.
    • R Leech replied that there are parts of the route where lack of space necessitates compromises, e.g. disallowing cycling on Constitution St due to safety concerns.
    • H Tobermann stated that if there are few or no calls for certain features, this does not make these calls incorrect.
    • D Wraight responded that, for example, in response to the many concerns about lack of crossing points in the original plans for the Foot of the Walk area, TT is now considering how many crossing points can be added, and where these should be, and is consulting with equality groups, e.g. RNIB, Age Scotland, to get balance.
    • A Hardie asked whether there will be a formal equalities assessment of the design.
      • R Leech replied that there is ongoing equalities assessment of the scheme and its impact, ensuring consultation with user-groups and the Edinburgh Access Panel.
  • D Wraight added that once Atkins’ current design work is complete, he will personally engage with the Panel and other groups, and then feed back to CCTT/TT meetings.

In response to a question from C Encombe, R Leech stated that even if Sustrans contributes money to TN and/or supplementary projects, it will likely do so with a balanced view of the needs of pedestrians as well as cyclists.

4.2.5 that the insertion of major infrastructure into one of Edinburgh’s premier streets is focused on the highest possible quality of planning, execution and final outcome.

R Leech and D Wraight stated that this is TT’s starting-point.

H Tobermann stated that this concern came from, for example, use of different sizes, qualities and installation qualities of paving on Leith Walk. Hence CCTT wishes guarantees of high-quality materials in TN.

  • R Leech responded that TN aims wherever possible to not take up footways – it is not a public realm improvement project. (He cited an example from St Andrews Square.) However, TN’s work will be fully compliant with ‘all appropriate design standards’, including the Design manual for roads and bridges (http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/dmrb).
  • C Encombe noted that tarmac at many bus-stops in Edinburgh is badly distorted by bus-wheel torque.
  • D Wraight responded that any defects are possible, but ‘it is the intention and aspiration of our project to work to the highest quality possible’. Hence there will be many people working to prevent defects, there will be a defect liability period in the contract, and TN will work to design-life criteria. He added that it is not in CEC’s interest to deliver sub-standard work.

5 Next meeting

5:30, Thursday 30 August (venue to be confirmed)

This meeting is likely to cover CCTT’s local economy concerns and supplementary projects. (This will be confirmed before the meeting.)

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