Thousands take part in Trams to Newhaven plans consultation
Thousands of people shared their views in a major consultation about plans for taking trams to Newhaven, which closed at the weekend after six weeks.
More than 3,000 people either attended one of the information events, sent in their comments by email or completed the consultation online on the Council's Consultation Hub.
The consultation was very widely publicised, with 26,000 letters sent to households in the area surrounding the proposed tram route, extensive online and local media promotion, as well as four public information events and four business forums held.
Through the process, which is part of Stage 2 of the project following approval of the Outline Business Case last September, members of the public were invited to give their views on draft proposals for: a) managing traffic during the construction period; b) supporting local businesses while work is ongoing; and c) the final road layout along the route.
Now that the consultation has closed, the Trams to Newhaven project team will consider the feedback received and re-examine the plans before publishing them for further consultation at the end of the summer.
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "A huge thank you to everyone who's taken the time to give us their feedback during the consultation process. The comments submitted will help us make changes to the plans before we consult again towards the end of the summer.
"Of course, no final decision on taking trams to Newhaven, or not, will be made until much later in the year, when we’ll consider a Final Business Case based on the tenders submitted and the outcome of the consultation. "
A number of key themes emerged during the consultation:
- the misconception that the project will divert resources from other Council services: The Outline Business Case explicitly states that the tram will not redirect funds from existing Council budgets over the life of the project, and instead, all borrowing costs will be met by an extraordinary dividend from Lothian Buses, as well as future tram revenues.
- support for businesses: Businesses are at the heart of the Council's plans and the team continues to be in close dialogue with all those who will be affected, with a financial support scheme currently in development. Traffic management for the project is being mapped out extremely carefully to mitigate disruption to businesses, ensuring continued service access, and a dedicated team of officers will be deployed to help with logistics and deliveries.
- need to achieve the best possible balance for all road users, particularly at the northern end of Leith Walk, ie between Pilrig Street and Foot of the Walk. There was a mixed response to the plans with some respondents saying the current plans gave inadequate provision for pedestrians and cyclists and others reiterating the importance of loading and parking on Leith Walk to support businesses and residents. This is something the project team is now actively addressing as the plans are re-examined.
- location of the Balfour Street tram stop
- the need to consider more pedestrian crossing points and signal controlled junctions on Leith Walk
- parking and loading on Constitution Street
All of the above, plus any other issues raised, will be considered as plans are revisited ahead of further consultation towards the end of the summer.
CONSULTATION IN FIGURES
Letters sent to households: 26,000
Letters sent to businesses: 440
Posters in libraries, GP surgeries etc: 1,000
Public information events: 4 (Leith Theatre, McDonald Road Library, Leith Community Education Centre and Ocean Terminal)
Business forums: 4
Event attendance: 1500+
Consultation Hub responses: 1,466
Emails sent in: 350+
Individual pieces of post-it feedback on plans: 600+
Tweets sent: 76
Facebook posts: 8
Total social media reach: 211,660
Total social media impressions/views: 3,523,831
Lamppost wraps: 48
Leaflets distributed: 2,000
People now on project mailing list:700
Website page views: 34,689
Website unique visitors: 11,193