Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 30 January 2020

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting (No 1 Construction Phase), at 200 Bonnington Rd, on Thursday 30 January at 5:30pm


CC = community council LW = Leith Walk
CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams NTBCC = New Town & Broughton Community Council
CEC = City of Edinburgh Council POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
CPZ = controlled parking zone TEC = CEC’s transport and environment committee
CS = Constitution St TM = Traffic management
LCCC = Leith Central Community Council TT = trams team
LHNCC = Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council w/c = week commencing
LLCC = Leith Links Community Council


Angus Hardie CCTT/LLCC Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Steve Jackson TT/Turner Townsend Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/LLCC Chris Wilson TT/CEC
Rob Levick CCTT/LHNCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC


Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC Bruce Ryan CCTT/LCCC/LHNCC/NTBCC minutes secretary Rob Leech TT/Anturas

1 Introductions

It was noted that D Wraight had left CEC/TT· Interviews for his replacement are due during February

2 Aims and objectives of the construction phase CCTT/TT meetings, minutes, confidentiality and meetings pattern

H Tobermann (HT) noted that previous CCTT/TT meetings were about the decision-making process until March 2019, then covered the ‘early contractor involvement’ phase· This is the first meeting to cover the f actual works that are underway in Constitution St and the preparatory works elsewhere·

HT anticipated that in March, when tram-works start in Leith Walk, many residents will suddenly find issues, and that this might overwhelm CCTT members· Hence CCTT will not involve itself with individual issues but will work at a higher level· To do so, HT has met with Hannah Ross (CEC’s tram project leader) to agree the way forward· This will involve

  • hearing from TT what the main issues are: numbers (and trends), types, locations of complaints etc; project progress indicators
    • HT had hoped to meet with R Leech before this meeting about the ‘dashboard’ that would collate information·
    • C Wilson noted that the dashboard is partially in his team’s remit, and that he had figures from the TT contact centre·
  • CCTT influencing positively where possible the final design and work quality·
  • Covering related matters such as bus, parking and waste that are outwith TT’s remit·

Meetings will generally be on the last Thursday of each month, 5:30pm at 165 Leith Walk·(where the TT will relocate to soon)

C Wilson noted that TT reports to its board and CEC’s trams all-party oversight group (TAPOG), and that TT aims to brief relevant CEC ward councillors· It was noted that TT also regularly engages with stakeholders such as the Constitution St Business Collective

  • HT requested that important matters from such engagement are brought to CCTT/TT meetings·

There was discussion of minuting, confidentiality and the need for TT to respond more quickly to draft minutes·

3 Update TT: progress and any issues that have arisen since November 2019 at:

3.a Constitution Street site/s

S Jackson (SJ) noted that all clearance work has progressed on schedule and hence further work is [likely to be] on schedule·

  • The main tasks are to clear as many utility items as possible from the area where trams will run and to ensure that those that must cross the tram-area are deep enough·
  • Current work includes moving a large gas-main on Bernard St and dealing with a burst water-main on Constitution St· (This was due to inclement weather – the material under the main was washed away·)
  • When such sudden events occur, a customer liaison officer will personally inform people at each property· Social media, TT website and relevant utility companies (e·g· Scottish Water) are also used to share such news·
    • A Hardie stated that there was nothing on Twitter about the burst water-main·
    • TT responded that much interaction was directly with individuals·
  • Underground ‘findings’ are as generally expected, but there are slightly fewer archaeological findings than expected·
  • Current work (also on schedule) includes deconstruction of the graveyard wall at South Leith Parish Church·
    • Significant archaeological findings are anticipated here·
    • Archaeologists are on-site at all [working] times·
    • Anticipated findings of bodies have required a warrant from the Sheriff Court·
    • The replacement wall will be made of concrete with a hand-made stone facia·
    • Historical material, e·g· a plaque taken from the wall, is being cared for by CEC conservationists· It will be restored·
  • The Robert Burns statue has been moved to storage for care· It will be replaced when footpaths have been reinstated·
    • The London Road click is being refurbished and will be replaced, as will the bronze pigeons that had previously been located on Elm Row.
      • C Wilson requested that the CCs disseminate that such items are being refurbished and will be included into the new public realm at Elm Row.
      • CC members requested photos, ideally with proof of the photo-dates, of these items·

3.b Preparatory works north and west of Constitution Street

SJ and C Wilson noted that traffic management is due to be set up on Melrose Drive on 6 March and on Ocean Drive (outside Ocean Terminal) on 13 March· The establishment of the construction site is expected to take two weeks from these dates.

3.c Preparatory works south of Constitution Street

SJ noted that these works are on schedule, with Leith Walk traffic management set-up due on 28 March· The establishment of the construction site is expected to take two weeks from this date

3.d Other points

  • A Hardie stated that signage doesn’t identify some works as part of the trams project·
    • C Wilson responded that the material around some works does not support such signage, but that he would consider this point· He also noted that workers’ uniforms have trams identifiers·
  • TT noted
    • Investigatory works, with traffic management as appropriate, are to inform the contractors of underground utilities·
    • The TT contact centre is now fully functional· It is separate from CEC’s contact centre·
      • A new website is under full review·
    • Support for business on Constitution St is fully operational·
      • This includes the ‘itison’ scheme: ~1700 vouchers have been bought so far but only ~700 redeemed·
      • Options being considered for unredeemed vouchers include extending the redemption deadline·
      • 19 businesses are taking part, with varying levels of purchase·
      • There will be a next phase to ‘itison’ to cover Leith Walk, with some adjustments because of the increased scale·
    • There had been an issue with Heras fencing· New fencing is now in place, and signage is being completed·
      • TT now has enough fencing in stock for the Leith Walk works (in contrast to the initial shortage in Constitution Street)
      • CCTT noted that plastic fences (used on investigatory works) tends to be blown down in inclement weather·
      • TT responded that installing fully-seated fencing is a much bigger job, and that temporary fencing is used to enable responses to requests from businesses to give them more parking/loading space etc·
      • CCTT noted that responses to blown-down fences are variable, but that such fences can be weighed down·
    • Traffic management will be installed as noted above, followed by works set-up in the following 2–3 weeks·
      • The main diversion route (both ways) will be along Easter Rd·
      • This will involve some adjustments to parking·
      • CCTT noted a ‘rat-run’ along Pilrig St, and predicted others in the Royal Terrace area·
      • CCTT urged 3 weeks’ notice of road-closures to (for example) Lothian Buses·
      • TT responded that Lothian Buses have asked for 12-week notice-periods – and this has been given· Hence Lothian Buses will register their service-changes on 14 February, and publicise them thereafter·
      • There are two public events planned: 4 February (2pm to 7pm) at Ocean Terminal, covering Melrose Drive and Ocean Drive); 11 February (2pm-7pm) at McDonald Rd Library, covering Leith Walk·
      • Because the events are earlier than the date for sign-off of bus-service changes, TT may not be aware of all details of changes· So TT will write to 29,000 households around the route, starting on 21 February·
      • Action: C Wilson to check whether Royal Terrace will be covered by this mailing·
        • This was later confirmed
      • The contact centre will be briefed, and signage will be on fences (possibly before fences are erected)·
    • Issues under consideration include continuing collection of garden and trade waste·
    • The recruitment of an interface manager is in progress, as noted in item 2·

4 Update CCTT: issues that have been brought to attention of 4 CCs

4.a Bins and waste collection

  • HT noted he recently met with a senior waste official (Erica Monfroi)· She appeared to be competent, she is tasked with redesigning bin coverage for all of Edinburgh· Issues discussed included communal bin-collection and placement once the trams are running, and changes to bin-placement caused by CPZs·
  • HT also noted that CEC has ordered necessary extra (smaller) bins· These will mostly go into side-streets·
    • C Wilson noted that he had met with Peter Jones, the official managing bins etc during tram-construction· A map of the forthcoming traffic-management was passed to Mr Jones, and Mr Jones and colleagues have done a walkabout·
    • The relevant drawing will soon be put on the TT website, and used at the public events mentioned above·
      • TT strongly requested underground bins, but acknowledged that CEC has not approved these·
    • TT requested flexibility in the case of plans not working as expected·
      • HT also noted that CEC’s bin-planning software only handles individual bins, not communal bins· Hence waste teams will need to observe issues, and may need to change routes accordingly·
      • TT suggested that communal-bin collection in Constitution St is working well, maybe due to the logistics hubs·
      • C Wilson suggested that there had been issues with trade-waste bins on Bernard St·
      • HT noted that Ms Monfroi has mooted fewer bins but with increased collection-frequencies.

4.b Other points

  • CCTT reported that signage is poor, and isn’t branded as part of the trams project·
    • TT responded that ‘statutory’ signage cannot be branded·
  • CCTT noted that the Scottish Government (SG) offices at Victoria Quay have 670 parking spaces, and asked how traffic here would be affected by the works·
    • TT responded that traffic management is in place for removal of roundabouts· Signals will be in place when roads are closed· TT is also in regular dialogue with Ocean Terminal about traffic flows· TTs team is ready to adjust signals if issues arise· TT has also contacted SG’s internal communications team, who will then help sharing information·
  • CCTT commended moves away from cars that long-term closures may cause, and favoured the logistics-hub model·
    • TT responded that other parts of CEC, e.g. ‘summer streets’, are thinking of emulating this model·
    • TT also noted plans to install Leith Walk logistics hubs 2-3 weeks in advance of installing traffic management·
    • There is also consideration of how to keep Ocean Drive etc informed·
    • It is planned to have 1 cargo-trolley per LW logistics hub·
  • CCTT expressed strong concern about the Lochend junction, which is regularly jammed· Issues include Leith Academy pupils going to Tescos at lunch-times, and buses needing to jump kerbs·
    • TT responded that this junction will work better when the LW closures are in place·
    • Action: LLCC to cc its complaint to CEC to CCTT·
    • H Tobermann suggested that Lothian Buses feel left out of processes, including not having sufficient time to train their drives about route-changes·
      • TT responded that such issues should be fixed by the traffic management review panel·
      • CCTT responded that this doesn’t provide routes for feedback from Lothian Buses about such issues·
    • CCTT asked about progress of the report on cycle-routes between the foot of Leith Walk and Ocean Terminal·
      • TT responded that it is working on a next-steps plan, following an options appraisal· The TT board has now appointed a project manager for this work·
      • TT also stated that the preferred option has been communicated·which is via Henderson Street. Great Junction Street and New Kirkgate had been discounted following discussions with key stakeholders.
      • Action: TT to communicate choices etc to CCTT and other stakeholders

5 Progress of final design and TRO

  • TT stated that the work for the TRO is ‘99%’ complete· This includes parking and loading arrangements·
    • Remaining work includes scheduling, which is expected to take another 4 to 6 weeks·
    • Thereafter the formal TRO process for the trams will be commenced in March·
  • The TRO will cover out to the ‘limits of deviation’, to varying depths along each side-street·
  • CCTT noted that the CEC official responsible for the CPZ has stated that due to consultation delays, the relevant TRO will go to CEC in May 2020·
    • Hence there is a delay between the two TROs, but CCTT has always urged that they should be close to each other·
      • TT acknowledged that the two TROs are separate: the tram TRO will be completed under Tram Act conditions, while the CPZ TRO is under other CEC leadership· However, there is alignment between the two processes·
    • TT stated that design work is still in progress
      • The designs were ‘relatively fixed’, at least in two dimensions, when the project was put out to tender·
      • There may be slight variances due to the contractors being responsible for ‘vertical’ design·
    • CCTT asked about the Croall Place to Shrub Place stretch, including the police box and underground garage·
      • CCTT stated that the current designs for this stretch are very poor·
        • TT responded that the current designs for this stretch will not change·
      • CCTT also asked about bus shelters, including whether there is room for pedestrians, buggies etc as well as the shelters·
        • Shelter-locations are fixed· Bespoke shelters will be used in a few places where lack of space prevents normal ones·
        • TT stated that bus-trackers may be replaced because the current ones are out-dated·
        • TT is responsible for providing underground utilities for shelters· Then JC Decaux will install its standard shelters·
        • CCTT stated that the standard JC Decaux shelters are poor, and that shelters need built-in information-displays·
        • Action: TT to share details of shelters with CCTT prior to sign-off in June

6 Progress of high level dashboard with metrics on project progress and (cumulative) impact on residents and businesses

TT reported only data (metrics on project progress to come) from the contact centre (launched mid-November). Up to ~3 weeks ago, 403 queries had been received:

6.a Query-channels

email 189 46·9%
phone 155 38·5%
twitter 38 9·4%
[live] chat 13 3·2%
outbound email 4 1·0%
portal 4 1·0%
Total 403 100·0%
  • However, Edinburgh Tram gets 60% of its comments via live-chat· This may be because tram-user’s needs are simple (e·g· ‘when is the next tram?’) while queries for TT are more complex·
  • Analysis and service-provision (i·e· numbers of staff handling queries) is influenced by lessons from previous ‘big works’, e·g· at Haymarket· For example, there are spikes in queries when traffic management is installed so more, dedicated, staff are in place at such times·
  • CCTT strongly suggested that, because the contact centre is in London, local knowledge may well be absent·
    • TT stated that CEC’s contact centre may be used in future, but Edinburghers may not know the tram area well·
  • CCTT asked how queries via the logistics hubs are counted in the above table.This is done via the software used in the customer relationship management system.

6.b Subjects of queries

Utilities 155 38·5%
Other 120 29·8%
Not for RSVP [the company running the contact centre] 78 19·4%
Traffic management Leith Walk 26 6·5%
Support for business 10 2·5%
Logistics hubs 4 1·0%
Waste 4 1·0%
Constitution St excavation 2 0·5%
Leith Walk works 1 0·2%
Parking on street 1 0·2%
Project-related 1 0·2%
Robert Burns statue 1 0·2%
Total 403 100·0%
  • Analysis of the ‘other’ and ‘not for RSVP’ queries is in progress.
    • C Wilson noted that his CEC email account is frequently notified of blocked (i.e. suspicious) emails. This issue is also increasing the ‘other’ datum, as are emails to ‘everyone’ Hence some manual adjustment to the above data extracted from the automated system, and this data is not yet fully robust.
    • The ‘not for RSVP’ datum is the number of queries that RSVP believes to be outwith its remit. TT is in discussion with RSVP on this..
  • Concerning the ‘utilities’ datum, 17,000 households were emailed to warn them of potential utility-outages. Hence the number of queries was less than 1% of the households contacted.
    • The queries delivered valuable information on vulnerable residents’ needs, e.g. those needing uninterrupted utilities for medical reasons. This data has been fed back into the programme team.
  • CCTT expressed keen interest in the locations of queries.
    • Action: TT to provide relevant breakdown.
  • CCTT suggested that the number of queries is merely ‘annoying’ rather than unmanageable.
  • CCTT asked queries about carers not being able to park near clients’ houses during ‘summer streets’, and whether TT had checked on likely needs with CEC social services etc.
    • Action: TT to ascertain what it has done in this area
  • CCTT stressed the need for robust metrics on, e.g. bin complaints and locations of queries, ideally circulated prior to CCTT/TT meetings. CCTT also stressed its request for cumulative metrics.


  • CCTT stated that the lights on a part of Constitution St had become darker.
    • Action: TT to check this
  • CCTT suggested that the TT social media around support for business could be better.
    • TT is looking into how to improve this, including making it more ‘newsy’.