Councillors approve in principle that any tram extension should continue to Newhaven

Councillors have approved in principle that any tram extension should continue to Newhaven.

Elected members voted today (Thursday) to continue consideration of an Outline Business Case until the next Council meeting in December, when a further report will be heard.

The Council will now gather additional detail to support any decision to commence the first stage of project development, including formally writing to Lothian Buses to request what additional dividend resources can be made available to fund activities.

If it is agreed to proceed with stage one activities at the next Council meeting, a nine-month period of project development will commence, including the beginning of procurement processes for external support and site investigation.

Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “I am pleased we have been able to find a way forward for the project, which would deliver a range of key benefits in terms of economic growth, greater accessibility and the environment for Leith and the city as a whole.

“It is now our intention to ensure complete clarity before taking the next step, taking into account the needs of the city’s tax payers. I therefore look forward to receiving a report providing further detail on the Outline Business Case before progressing the project to the next stage.”

Depute Council Leader, Councillor Sandy Howat, said: “We are in agreement that extending the tram line could have a positive impact on the city, and look forward to receiving further information later this year, before deciding on whether to proceed with the project.

“We want to provide best value for the city, so it is essential that we balance progress with the interests of Edinburgh’s residents.”

Once the first stage is complete, a report would be brought back to Council recommending the way forward. If Councillors agree to continue with the extension a second stage, scheduled to take 21 months and costing approximately £8.3m, would include further site investigation and working with the Council’s advisors in carrying out procurement and enabling works.

In June, Councillors considered the emerging conclusions of the draft Outline Business Case, which proposed a formal market consultation and further, detailed analysis of project finances before any decision was made.

The Outline Business Case, based on a formal market consultation process, audit of the financial model and identification of funding options, concludes that extending the existing tram line to Newhaven will boost the city’s economy while delivering a range of wider benefits in relation to employment, population growth and social inclusion.

The Edinburgh Tram Extension - Next Steps report was heard by Council on Thursday, 19 November.

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