Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 27 February 2020

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting (No 2 Construction Phase) at 165 Leith Walk on Thursday 27 February at 5:30pm

Attendance and notes

Mike Birch NTBCC/CCTT Rob Leech Anturas/TT Jennifer Marlborough LHNCC/CCTT
Kris Cameron Project manager (Leith Walk)/TT Rob Levick LHNCC/CCTT Harald Tobermann LCCC/CCTT
Angus Hardie LLCC/CCTT Andrew MacKenzie LLCC/CCTT Chris Wilson CEC/TT


Charlotte Encombe LCCC/CCTT Carol Nimmo NTBCC/CCTT Bruce Ryan minutes secretary/CCTT

1.a Items (that were) to be shared by email after the meeting

This was partly because there was limited time for the meeting.

  • Updated org chart showing project team members and senior contractor staff
  • Updated project oversight chart
  • Updated comms chart, showing how enquiries get triaged and escalated
  • Update on works progress (since end January 2020) at:
    • Constitution Street site/s
    • Preparatory works Lindsay Rd to Ocean Drive
    • Preparatory works in Leith Walk
  • Update on timelines for publication, consultation and Implementation: Final design/TRO; CPZ; Communal bin review

2 Introductions

  • K Cameron introduced himself as project manager for the Leith Walk section of the works. Prior to this role, he worked on ‘big projects’ for Amey and Scottish Water, mostly away from Edinburgh. He noted that Steven Jackson is project director for Turner Townsend.
  • The other present CCTT members introduced themselves to Kris.

3 General progress update including update on Interface Manager recruitment

  • R Leech noted that input from CCTT was the most important part of this meeting.
  • R Leech stated that work on Constitution St is ‘going well’, heartened by not finding many anticipated utilities issues.
    • However, some unanticipated issues have been found, notably on Bernard St.
    • Despite this, Morrisons is on schedule for handing over this site to the main contractor on 27 March.
  • R Leech noted that Leith Walk enabling works are also ‘going well’. These are to widen the carriageway to enable construction of a city-bound running lane, while the remainder of the road is closed for tram-construction, starting 28 March. This work includes removal of pavement build-outs and moving lamp-posts.
    • A Hardie recalled an issue from the previous meeting (item 3.d) about communications. (See item 4 below.)
    • The main work will start on 28 March.
      • C Wilson added that ~29,000 people will receive letters about this. Most have already been sent, but Constitution St letters will be sent next week.
      • Action: C Wilson to supply all versions of these letters to CCTT.
    • R Leech noted that traffic management installation on Melrose Drive is due to start on 6 March. (Site investigation work is currently in progress.) Main excavation will start here on 20 March. Details of traffic diversions were discussed.
      • Action: TT to arrange for Ocean Drive project manager to attend one of these meeitngs.
    • R Leech noted that traffic management installation on Ocean Drive is due to start on 13 March.
    • R Leech noted that design is ‘chunked’ so it can be accelerated where construction starts early. There are no issues, but there are many stakeholders. For example, drainage design affects ducting which then affects street furniture.
      • Design is being overseen by Matt Grimond (client ‘NEC project manager’ [K Cameron’s] boss) and Michael Motion.
      • CEC’s design oversight is via Atkins.
      • H Tobermann noted that he had met with M Motion about drainage in phase 4 of the original tram-works.
      • R Leech responded that drainage has two main facets: design (which Scottish Water will examine closely) and construction. There is much work going on in relation to, e.g. flood modeling in designs. S Jackson will soon meet with a senior member of Scottish Water.
    • R Leech noted that TT has been interviewing to recruit a new interface manager. A preferred candidate has been identified. All being well, the new recruit will start in early April 2020.
    • R Leech noted that a quality control inspector (QCI) (Lloyd Glen) has been recruited to the project from CEC.
      • Scottish Water has also appointed a full-time quality-control person for the trams project.
      • The QCI will report to the new interface manager, who then reports to R Leech and Hannah Ross.
      • R Leech added that the contractors also have their own quality-control systems, which must be approved by TT. As well as being good practice it is also in response to the Cole report which tackled deficiencies in buildings standards compliance and enforcement.
      • H Tobermann noted meeting the Leith Walk foreman, who works for SFN. There are equivalent s for each section.
      • Potential conflicts of interest were discussed. There will also external quality audits to avoid CoI fault-passing.
      • There will also be snagging phases after construction.
        • Action: CCs to get to know their relevant fore-people.
      • J Marlborough asked whether it would be possible to have logistics hubs in the LHNCC section(s). She read out a plea from a resident to not close Lindsay Rd for her wedding.
        • Action: JM to forward this email to TT; TT to consider this plea.
      • R Leech noted that weekend work at Constitution St is due to the underground complexity at Bernard St. Work would not be on schedule without weekend working.
        • There was a separate letter-drop about this.
        • M Birch suggested that CCs should also be informed about weekend work.
        • H Tobermann urged use of noticeboards close to the work-sites (not CC boards) to ensure informing residents.
          • Action: C Wilson to ensure CCs are informed, and to look into on-street notification.

4 Communications update (TT)

4.a TT’s update

C Wilson noted

  • The 29,000 letters to businesses and residents mentioned in item 3 (point 3) above
  • Development of social media (Instagram and Twitter)
  • 2 public events about Lindsay Rd, Ocean Drive and Leith Walk works.
    • Attendance totaled ~100 people.
    • The event in Ocean Terminal was better attended than the one in McDonald Rd library.
  • There will be TT staff ‘out and about’, dropping in on businesses both proactively and in reaction to concerns.
  • Support for business continues with the ITISON voucher scheme, although redemption is less than might have been expected, and other measures in consultation with local businesess.

4.b CCTT’s responses

  • H Tobermann noted
    • The letters arrived in several waves, some after cars needed to be moved in Pilrig St.
    • The letter is very dense and full of information. It may be better to send out versions focusing on smaller areas, and using pictures/maps rather than text. Otherwise, many recipients would ignore the letters, then complain to CEC.
    • It would also help to have noticeboards at worksites to inform local residents etc, and permanent information-stations at McDonald Rd library (for Leith Walk) and at Ocean Terminal (for the harbour area), and at Leith Walk police box etc.
      • C Wilson responded that such segmentation is done on the trams website, and that TT had worked hard to minimise the size of the letters. He added that TT is using many channels to try to communicate with the public in advance of work starting.
      • There was discussion of (digital) illiteracy levels in Scotland and Edinburgh, and use of other languages.
    • HT suggested sending drafts of future letters to CCTT, so it could constructively comment. He promised that CCTT would obey embargoes on the content.
      • TT responded that there will be only one more ‘big’ letter drop, covering Rennie’s Isle to Ocean Terminal.
      • There will then be fortnightly newsletters covering detail of smaller areas.
    • In connection with buses (section 5, point 1), M Birch noted that there is only one sentence in the current letters about buses. This refers recipients to a website. Yet it is quite possible that a significant number of recipients do not have the necessary digital literacy. Hence TT needs to consider target audiences, and what they need to know, in such letters.
      • R Leech responded that information is on buses, so regular users should be aware. However, less-frequent bus-users who are not digitally literate ‘would struggle’ with the current letters.
      • A MacKenzie suggested displaying information on bus-stops.
        • Action: C Wilson to feed such ideas into TT’s next fortnightly meeting with Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams.
      • J Marlborough asked whether printed information could be left in the public domain longer, e.g. in vacant units in Ocean Terminal.
        • R Leech agreed that this was worthwhile exploring.
        • C Wilson noted that supermarkets could be used as information points, as could McDonald Rd library.
          • Action: TT to look into using static information-displays.

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

5.a Status of vibration damage surveys (locations that have been included)

  • A MacKenzie noted that a resident has asked about noise coming from work near South Leith Parish Church.
    • K Cameron and R Leech responded that noise and vibration monitoring is used. If certain levels are exceeded, work stops while TT works out alternative processes. The sensors should be either on the rig or very close to the work.
    • A MacKenzie responded that the sensor in question is some distance from the work.
      • Action: TT to look into this, and make the contractors change monitor locations if necessary.
    • M Birch added that acceptable levels are computed over several-hour periods, but there may be instantaneous breaches of acceptability. (R Leech responded that this follows the code of construction practice.) MB noted that the code of practice is from 2006.

5.b Issues arising from bus diversions (Leith Walk, Easter Road, Leith Links)

Minute-taker’s note: while this discussion was part of item 4, it is treated in these minutes as an issue of which CCTT is aware. Relevant communication points are in item 4b, point 2. The following also covers agenda items 5.b.i (parallel North Bridge lane closure) and 5.b.11 (Need for traffic modeling and ameliorating measures).

J Marlborough noted that traffic disruption at Commercial St and Lindsay Rd is already ‘horrendous’, before other works mentioned above have started. There is great concern about what will happen when the other works start, especially when those who park at Victoria Quay are affected.

  • C Wilson responded that TT is in contact with the Scottish Government about this, and will soon meet them.
  • The non-tram work on Great Junction St bridge (GJSB) is contributing to the current issues.
  • H Tobermann suggested that action needs to be taken to prioritise bus-travel in such areas, including North Bridge while it is reduced to one lane each way. He also suggested that traffic-modeling would not have included this factor because it has only recently been announced.
    • R Leech responded that in his daily experience, buses are not currently hindered on North Bridge.
      • Action: TT to look into this question
    • TT noted that such action would needs approval by the traffic management review panel (TRMP).
      • R Leech noted that he will soon meet the new Lothian Buses MD, and that TT has modeled the situation to understand in advance what it needs to do. (GJSB work will have finished by the time tram-work starts.)
      • He noted that traffic management options are agreed between TT, Lothian Buses etc, then taken to TMRP for approval. (If a plan is rejected by TMRP, is it then reworked to be acceptable to TMRP.)
    • HT noted that Lothian Buses is legally obliged to advertise changes to the traffic commissioner 42 days in advance, (which it did ‘on the dot’) and to CEC 28 days in advance. He stated that CCTT will insist on these timings being met, citing the ‘stooshie’ over changes to the 12 buses.
      • R Leech responded that TT will ‘find out what is happening with the 12’ in its regular meetings with Lothian Buses, including the potential provision of a shuttle service., and how buses will use Annandale St. (TT wishes to close part of Annandale St when tram-works reach that area.)
    • M Birch later added that there is lack of clarity about bus diversions, and that it is essential to monitor traffic to see whether predictions from modeling come true or changes are needed. He cited an example from other recent works.
      • R Leech acknowledged that monitoring is needed, and that TT will do so from the point that diversions are in place.
    • M Birch also noted TT documents describing traffic management at Elm Row, including provision of a roundabout. This is not yet publicly mapped.
      • R Leech responded that many changes to tram-plans had resulted from ‘heavy’ consultation. Design drawings are now on TT’s website, and once TRO work is complete, all relevant details will be published.
      • M Birch responded that there are likely to be issues during construction, even if the final outcome ‘works’. He stated that any work on Picardy Place halts traffic-flows.
      • K Cameron and R Leech responded that monitoring would be in place here.
      • H Tobermann noted that the St James project will hand over the Picardy Place site to CEC in March.
        • It was noted that St James will have done most of the utility work here, some further work might be needed. However, tram-work here will not start until quite late into the project.
        • There was discussion of how the central roundabout can be used.

5.c Progress and resilience of communal bin (and other waste) collections during tram works

H Tobermann noted his conversations with relevant senior CEC waste officials, covering refreshment of bins throughout Edinburgh, focussing on the tram area. He stated that these officials have a ‘positive’ grip on the waste situation.

6 Any other business

  • H Tobermann showed pictures of Pilrig St, where Scottish Power emergency works have provided ‘decent pedestrian provision’ but SFN has provided ‘”less than optimal” pedestrian provision’.


    • K Cameron and R Leech responded that there is a junction adjacent to its work, and so provision of a full pedestrian route would dangerously reduce the road-width, and that pedestrian safety is a priority for TT. The pedestrian provision shown above is in line with this priority.
    • H Tobermann suggested that it would be possible to close a full lane in such situations, so that less able pedestrians are catered for. He noted that the part of Edinburgh is the most densely populated part of Scotland, with low car ownership, so pedestrianism is higher than in other areas, and must be catered for.
    • R Leech stated that while there are reasons for the above situation, TT welcomes reports of ‘rubbish’ happenings.