Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 14 April 2022

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting on Wednesday 14 April 2022 at 5:30pm, at Trams project compound (165 Leith Walk)

Actions and decisions are red italic. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’. Names are mostly abbreviated to initials.

1 Prelims

1.1 Welcome, apologies

1.1.1 Present

Robert Armstrong* TT Rob Leech† TT
María Ortega Carreras* TT Andrew Mackenzie† CCTT /LLCC
Mike Birch* CCTT/NTBCC Jennifer Marlborough* CCTT/LHNCC
Steve Jackson* TT Bruce Ryan† CCTT minutes secretary
Angus Hardie* CCTT/LLCC Harald Tobermann* CCTT/LCCC

* = in person; † = via MS teams

1.1.2 Apologies

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC Chris Wilson TT

1.2 Minutes of March 2021 meeting

Approved nem con

1.3 Actions from March meeting not included on agenda below


2 Introduction: María Ortega Carreras, SFN Project Director (Trams to Newhaven)

MOC reported

  • While she is new to this role, having recently taken over from Alejandro Mendoza, she has worked for the trams project since April 2019 as part of the commercial team.
  • She graduated as a civil engineer in 2005, and has worked in construction since then. She started as a site engineer for roads and infrastructure projects, mostly working in the south of Spain (her native area), before moving into project management (e.g. on water treatment and pipeline projects.)
  • She moved from Spain in 2016, but continued to work mostly for Sacyr. She worked in the design team for water, gas, tunnels and sewers projects in Qatar, before coming to Edinburgh, where she is getting used to the different climate.
  • She cycles to work every day. Her LinkedIn profile is at

2.1 Q&A

  • Qatar is different to Edinburgh, so is this project different? Have you worked on any other city-centre projects?
    • I have worked on a high-speed rail and trams project in Malaga. This included putting new track next to existing track, in an area with high population density.
    • I have worked on a massive city-port project, integrating the port area into the city. This work was welcomed, even though the city is a major tourism area.
  • CCTT respects your focus on making the area work well during construction.
    • The logistics hubs are there to support local businesses. We are focused on delivering with minimal disruption.
  • What keeps you awake at night?
    • Every day brings different challenges. The post-pandemic phase is possibly the biggest set of challenges. Materials issues fall in this category. We are also navigating and mitigating price-increases.
  • What does a commercial team do?
    • It deals with everything to do with subcontractor management, changes/ variations to the original contract, cost forecasts, payments, interaction with planning team, supply chain issues. Quantity surveying is part of this.
  • Did the commercial team decide how Elm Row is to be constructed [with features that CCTT deprecates]?
    • No

3 Presentation and Q&A: Plans for Handover, Quality Control and ‘Ready for Operations’ Protocols (interface with CEC and tram operating company)

3.1 Project flow chart for Sectional Completion 2

SJ explained

  • The complete route is split into sections. Basically, when the civil engineering work in any section is complete, the section is handed back to CEC. The flowchart shows the handover process, including acceptance of sections by CEC.
    • This process (shown on the flowchart) is known as sectional completion 2 (SC2).
    • SC1 was handover from SFN to Morrisons, after installation of traffic management, such that the latter then had legal responsibility for the sections.
    • After SC2, CEC is legally responsible for maintenance, safety etc. However, in the following two years, the contractor can be recalled to fix defects or finish other works.
    • There is also final completion (June 2023). The contractor can be recalled to fix defects for the two years after that.
  • For each section, the SC2 process begins 4 weeks before the handover date. It ascertains whether the section will be ready for handover on that date. This is because it’s generally optimal to fix defects during the construction process.
    • Four weeks before the SC2 date, a schedule of outstanding work (including defect-fixing) is generated.
    • A review meeting then decides whether this work can be done before the SC2 date. If not, the SC2 date is moved.
    • Three weeks before the SC2 date, there is a ‘snagging and defects’ walkover by CEC and TT quality control staff. The outstanding work list is then updated. Any slippages are escalated.
    • Two weeks before the SC2 date, collation of handover documentation begins. This includes health and safety files, enabling CEC to take ownership of the asset, and ensuring CEC is happy with the documentation.
    • The week before the SC2 date includes daily walkovers to check that work is being completed.
    • Then there is final handover of the section to CEC.
    • At any point during this process, if it is found that the SC2 date cannot be met, it is postponed appropriately.
  • A Hardie: is CEC ready for this?
    • SJ: all the documentation is on an information management system (‘Viewpoint’). This will become part of CEC’s assets, so that (for example) CEC drainage staff can access drains information collated by TT. (CEC is in the process of obtaining a license for Viewpoint or another system that can ingest the information from Viewpoint.)
    • SJ: TT is working with CEC to ensure that CEC staff can work with the information provided at SC2 and final handover. This includes relevant CEC teams coming on site, and having been involved in design and inspecting work as it’s done.
    • RA: this applies to waste, street-lighting, signals, roads, structures, flood-prevention teams, etc.
    • HT: I question whether the waste team is ready, and suggest teams will approve things too easily.
    • SJ: the ongoing involvement and formal processes, with CEC quality control staff, counter this.
  • JM: I am concerned that CEC staff are already overwhelmed, so do not have capacity to take on the extra assets.
    • CEC has taken on the extra work via its roads working group. There is extra pressure but it’s being managed.
  • RA: there are 14 sections. The first three SC2s will take place in May 2022. (The first will be Ocean Drive or Rennie’s Isle to Ocean Terminal.) SC2 starts a year before final completion to allay pressures that would occur if handover just happened in 2023.
    • SJ: SC2 enables CEC to take over a public asset. However, further tram work may still be needed, e.g. installing cables.
    • SJ: if this would require significant road-closures, the review meeting will decide to postpone SC2 accordingly. However, minor work can still be done after SC2. TT maintains a defects list, and works with the contractor to ensure defects are fixed in an ongoing process. This is not necessarily linked to SC2.
    • MB: CCTT would like a high-level view of the defects list. Can this be added to the dashboard, to help CCTT help with public concern?
  • HT: does SC2 include installation of signage?
    • SJ: signage needs to be in place for TROs to be enforceable, so it is part of the SC2 process. Litter bins, cycle racks and planters may not, because they are not essential to reopening roads. However, TT prefers they are installed before SC2.
    • RA: Phone booths are a BT asset which TT may not be able to touch. They are required every 700 metres. (TT has been permitted to remove other booths.) However, TT is asking BT to renovate the remaining booths.
    • HT: CCTT will contact BT, increasing the pressure to renovate.
  • MB: please report on SC2 progress in May. TT is also concerned about RA’s workload.
    • RA/SJ: we are involved in every SC2 meeting, but the majority of work is done by section managers.
    • MB: does this not place you in a difficult position?
    • RA: this is why other relevant CEC staff have been consistently involved all through.
    • HT: For the bays being constructed, it appears that Leith Walk communal bins will be different to those elsewhere. I am concerned that CEC may not have suitable specialist equipment.
    • MB: can CCTT meet with the relevant CEC managers, or perhaps to CEC director of place to whom they report?
    • RA: I will check with the project board about this.
  • HT: what if utility companies rip up the work that has just been completed?
    • RA: TT cannot prevent emergency work. For now, TT has the resources and opportunity to monitor reinstatement after such work, and TT/CEC can insist on reinstatement being done to suitable standards.
    • RA: there is still an embargo on non-emergency utility work, and a process to co-ordinate any such work.

4 TT reports and updates

  • HT: please can these maps be published on the TT website?
    • RA: I will investigate this

4.1 Latest (dated) progress dashboard with period lookahead and key metrics

No discussion

4.2 Latest (dated) route map (March 2022) with completion dates for each section

No discussion

4.3 Latest (dated) H&S metrics (included in main dashboard)

No discussion

4.4 Latest (dated) comms dashboard (included in main dashboard) and latest geographical breakdown of comms

No discussion

4.5 Latest (dated) map showing all temporary pedestrian crossing points along the route and distances, location of temporary bus stops, and diverted or narrowed (below 1.2m) footpaths

  • RA: some pavement widening has been possible
  • RA/SJ: York Place will reopen next week, so the crossing (now at Elder St) will then move closer to Broughton St.
  • HT: it still appears that there are some long journeys to cross streets, and advertise progress/ due changes on sites.
    • Action: TT (C Wilson) to investigate this
  • RA: most distances between crossings are less than 200m
    • JM: not between Balfour St and the Foot of the Walk. Also, rubbish bins here are full to overflowing at this bus stop.
    • MB: it appears that CEC has not been able to access these bins to empty them, and TT is being blamed for this.
    • Action: RA to review this
  • SJ: the traffic management review panel agrees temporary bus-stop locations with Lothian Buses, then SFN installs them. Then Lothian Buses inspects them.
  • HT: these maps need to show when they were last updated. Who creates them? How is data gathered
    • RA: they are drawn by a member of C Wilson’s team. He frequently walks the site to gather updates.
    • MB: the colour-coding on the maps is still inconsistent.
    • Action: RA to get this fixed
    • MOC: the maps could be created from the traffic management drawings.
    • RA: all TM drawings are on the website, but these are too detailed for this purpose.

4.6 Map showing any planned changes (one month ahead) to temporary pedestrian crossing points along the route and distances, location of temporary bus stops, and diverted or narrowed (below 1.2m) footpaths

  • RA: there are only two upcoming changes: at Queen Charlotte St and York Place.
    • MB: Broughton St was reopened 2 weeks ahead of schedule. TT should advertise such good news.

RA supplied this set of maps (PDF on LCCC website) after the meeting

4.7 Map showing additional traffic management arrangements to accommodate site investigations works and utility diversions outside the main area of TTN works

  • MB: this map is very useful.
  • RA/SJ: this map 9also) shows work being undertaking outwith the main tram construction sites.

4.8 List of traffic management measures (locations and brief description, dates) agreed and coming into force in the coming 5 weeks: road traffic diversions and lane closures, bus route diversions

RA: upcoming changes are:

  • Picardy Place (15 April)
  • Antigua St (18 April) – the traffic lane will be moved to enable public realm work. This will be done during normal working hours.
  • The right turn from London Road to Leith Walk will be closed. While this may be a significant change, it will improve traffic flow because the majority of such traffic seeks to get to the new town. Now such traffic will go up to Picardy Place, then to Broughton St. Following discussion with Lothian Buses and CEC roads at the TMRP, extra signage is being installed along London Rd to ensure drivers are aware in time they can’t turn right. This right turn was only introduced when access to Broughton St was closed, so TT is reinstating what used to be.
    • JM: this right turn shortens taxi journeys and costs.
    • MB: will Picardy Place have the necessary capacity to avoid congestion?
    • RA: London Rd traffic is significantly less than predicted. CEC’s traffic signals team will soon optimise the lights here.
  • Foot of the Walk phase 1 was implemented this week. Phase 2 will start on 23rd
  • Queen Charlotte St work will start on 18 April.
  • Stevedore Place work (phase 3) will start on 25 April.
  • Lindsay Rd reverts to two-way traffic on 22 April.
  • Manderston St will reopen on 31 May.
  • RA (by email, after meeting)
    • Picardy Place – 23/04/22
    • Antigua Street – 18/04/22
    • FoTW Phase 1 – 11/04/22
    • FoTW Phase 2 – 23/04/22
    • Queen Charlotte Street Closure – 23/04/22
    • Stevedore Place Phase 3 – 25/04/22
    • Lindsay Road – 22/04/22

4.9 Ongoing metrics regarding ‘business health’: written Q&As: businesses along tram construction route (April 2022)

4.9.1 Most recent Itison vouchers sold and used (£s and numbers):

  • Leith Walk: 11,965 vouchers sold, 2,168 vouchers left to be redeemed.
  • Constitution Street: 9,016 vouchers sold, 1,710 vouchers left to be redeemed.
  • Total: 20,981 sold, with 3,878 left to be redeemed (18.5% of total issued)
  • Total 17,013 have been redeemed. £5 voucher gives £10 spend so total spend to date £171,030
  • Redemption date has been pushed back to 31 August 2022
  • Redemption is being encouraged and monitored

4.9.2 Most recent continuity fund statistics

  • 154 applications received
  • applications granted:
    • 114 approved (41 of these are 2nd applications along the route; 3 are 3rd applications along the route)
    • 15 declined
    • 12 currently no showing hardship – ongoing discussions with those individual businesses
    • 9 missing information – ongoing discussion with those individual businesses
    • 4 to review
  • total value (£) of grants paid out £330,000 (a small number of businesses have not received the full £3,000).

4.9.3 Most recent statistics for logistics hubs

  • This information will be presented at the May meeting..
  • For information, ahead of the business meeting on 17 March at Out of the Blue I was provided with the following information for the Dalmeny Street and Albert Street hubs for deliveries in the previous four weeks. The general view was that the use of the hubs in this section was declining as delivery drivers were increasingly using side streets and some of the parking bays that were opened up on Leith Walk following the ‘flip’.
    • Dalmeny St
      • LA FAVORITA 144
      • DOFOS 134
      • BRAID VETS 62
      • HING SING 41
    • Albert St
      • WEIGH TO GO 26
      • THAI BOWL 15
      • POLICE BOX 2

4.9.4 Footfall counters

  • My understanding is there are no footfall counters on Leith Walk or Easter Road. There used to be one at Brunswick Street by Vittoria on the Walk but that was removed. The provision of footfall counters around the city sits with colleagues in Economic Development and my recollection is that this is tied in with Business Improvement Districts (such as Essential Edinburgh) – I know there are / were footfall counters in the city centre and have asked but the individual is on holiday until next week.
  • The same individual would advise on hub deployment and running costs.
  • As updated previously we use data from the Local Data Company to monitor the health of businesses on the route. Key points from the last set of data we have is:
    • Leith’s vacancy rate is 13.8% and has plateaued
    • Edinburgh’s vacancy rate is increasing (up from 8.7% to 9.6% for Jan – Jun 21 vs July – Dec 21)
    • There has been an historic vacancy rate gap of c. 5% between Leith and rest of Edinburgh.
    • Scotland’s vacancy rate is 15% with UK vacancy rate at 14.5%
    • In UK there has been 43,167 retail and leisure openings and 51,069 closures in the last 12 months. (this is a -8.5% variance)
    • 78 closures and 74 openings in Leith during the last 12 months (this is a -5% variance)
    • Leith performs strongly in leisure (restaurants, cafes, etc) but has seen a decline service (auto services, travel agents, hairdressers)
    • In general, retail is struggling and leisure is performing better
    • Shopping centres have been worse hit. Independents and out of town retail park have proved to be resilient
    • There is a macro issue around oversupply of retail / leisure in the UK in general. Between 2014-16 there was significant expansion in new shopping centres and out of town retail provision. In addition, there has been an ongoing increase in online shopping.

4.10 Stakeholder and Support for Business Comms Update

No disussion

4.11 Summary of the most recent Tram Project Board meeting on a confidential basis

  • R Leech:
    • The main topic was SC2 and defects management. Senior CEC staff were hence able to take in upcoming matters.
    • There was a briefing about the ‘ready for operations’ subgroup (the interface between Edinburgh Trams and TT). The RFO subgroup helps ensure issues are closed out and that the deliverable will be fit for purpose.
    • Scotland’s active travel commissioner visited the site ~3 weeks ago, giving a reasonably good assessment of the work.
    • There were the normal updates on stakeholder communications, support for business, detained commercial matters.

4.12 Summary of TT meetings with Active Travel and Business Groups

  • RA: TT met with Spokes ~2 weeks ago to track actions about the cycle path etc.
  • RA: there was a poorly attended meeting with businesses ~2 weeks ago.

5 Queries and issues identified by CCTT

5.1 Issues documented with photos

Action: MB and AM to discuss this outwith meetings

5.2 Cyclist safety audit of temporary surfaces near tram tracks on southbound Leith Walk

  • HT: attention is needed to road surfaces, e.g. at Gayfield Square. Who will do this?
    • RA: there are diversion routes, and relevant signage.
    • Action: TT to undertake this, as part of this week’s review of all traffic management.

5.3 How serious is ‘traffic management signals availability’?

  • SJ: traffic management signals availability is generally not an issue.
  • SJ: the full change at the Foot of the Walk has not yet taken place. This requires movement of semi-permanent signals, but relevant specialist cabling subcontractors are not currently available. This will not delay overall completion.

6 Final design/landscape

6.1 Communal bin bays: capacity, shape, location and compatibility with current city-wide review

  • HT: who signed off relevant designs: CEC waste or TT?
    • Action: RA to engage with CEC waste to resolve this
  • HT: bin recesses appeared not to fit standard bins. Has this been resolved?
    • RA: discussion of such matters started in 2020, so such problems should not be happening.
    • MB: the bin review suggests that some bins will be in inappropriate places, e.g. at Elm Row.
    • Action: RA to investigate

6.2 Signage location strategy for new poles appearing on Leith Walk (removal or redundant and overall reduction)

  • AM: there are new poles on Maritime St, Mitchell St and Constitution St.
  • SJ: these are part of the TRO signage, which will show where parking is forbidden so that can be enforced.
    • HT: do these need to be right in front of shop windows? Can’t they be on pavement edges?
    • RA: some locations can’t be used because these are above sub-pavement utilities.
    • MB: installation of poles [for ‘no parking’ signs) appears to be contrary to efforts to reduce clutter. Are road markings insufficient? Can poles for traffic signs (which TT is also installing) also be used for this?
    • SJ: TT is doing this where possible.

6.3 Update on public realm/siting design options for historic Pilrig Cable Wheels

  • SJ: there will be an options review in mid-May. CCTT will be invited to take part.

6.4 Locations where two trams cannot pass at the same time (similar to North St David Street)

  • SJ: trams can pass each other all along the route, but there is a crossover at York Place which can only accommodate one tram at a time. This is controlled with traffic signals.

7 Register of post project measures

7.1 Review initial three entries and agree status and priority

No discussion

7.2 AOB

  • JM: there is concern about lack of distinction between footpaths and cycle-ways.
    • RA: there is grade-separation and tactile paving.

8 Date of next meeting/s and guests

8.1 12 May, 9 June, 14 July

  • These dates were agreed. There was discussion of alternate CCTT representatives.

8.2 Gareth Barwell (CEC Service Director – Operational Services) & Cliff Hutt (CEC Service Manager Transport Infrastructure)

  • Action: RA to facilitate their attendance