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Supporting businesses

Supporting local business throughout the works

Supporting local business throughout the works

Our aim is to maintain the vibrancy, desirability and accessibility of the streets affected by the Trams to Newhaven Project

The Council and the project’s contractors have committed over £2.4m of funding to support local business via a series of measures intended to maintain the accessibility, vibrancy and desirability of the affected streets. The primary aim is to provide support to the diverse range of independent businesses along the route.

Recognising that the tram works have the potential to affect business as usual in the local area, the Council previously invited feedback from the local business community on a set of measures. These measures have now been developed following feedback from local traders, members of the public and interest groups. An outline of the measures we are putting in place going forward, along with more details on how these will work, can be found below.

Support measures in detail:

Logistics hubs


Mitchell Street


March 2020

Foot of the Walk

Dalmeny Street

Albert Street

Montgomery Street


  • 5 logistics hubs will be located at strategic locations between Leith Walk and Constitution Street, with Mitchell Street having opened November 2019. This means that goods coming into or out of a business, where loading cannot be accommodated, will only need to be transported by you or our team over short distances.
  • Logistics officers will help businesses get goods into and out of their premises, where access is difficult and will also provide best in class customer service
  • Logistics officers have been trained in manual handling, lifting and moving heavy loads and are fully insured to carry out their work
  • Businesses should book slots in advance, where this is practical to do so.
  • Residents can also speak to the logistic officers about bulky items they are having delivered such as sofas and fridge freezers.

On-street customer service staff

November 2019 – Summer 2021

  • Our logistics officers have been trained, in collboration with Edinburgh Trams, to provide best in class customer service and advice to anyone who seeks it
  • Each of our team members will become local champions for the area in which they work, getting to know local businesses and business owners, local facilities and residents.
  • We will offer help to those with limited mobility or disabilities with accessing local services
  • Provide directions to assist people in finding displaced bus stops, taxi ranks, bike parking and other relocated transport options affected by the works
  • Receive, respond, and refer customer comments, suggestions, and complaints to relevant team members

Business support team

November 2019 – Summer 2022

  • The team will be there to help businesses build on their business case and plan for the years ahead (through the works and beyond)
  • A key element of their remit will be to help businesses  access free improvement courses in areas such as web design, e-commerce and marketing
  • The team will also signpost businesses to other support routes and funding for things that are related to improving how businesses operate and provide support and assistance in making applications to these schemes.

Open for business campaign

November 2019

Constitution Street campaign launches


Spring 2020

Leith Walk campaign launches

  • Local on-street and in-store marketing making use of site hoardings, street art, and a wide variety of other media to make sure the message is loud and clear
  • Further promotion on digital channels
  • Signage, maps and multiple crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists through the worksite
  • Wider wayfinding across the city for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers with advertising banners and clear route finding on key approach roads and cycle paths.

Local discounts funded by the Council


Constitution Street



Spring 2020

Leith Walk

  • We are working with deal site itison’ where customers can purchase vouchers online to spend in local stores at a discounted rate (discount funded by the Council)
  • Remittance for deal site vouchers redeemed in store will be made to the businesses by the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Businessses will receive 100% of the voucher's value

Keeping the local area clean and attractive

Street art project

Spring / Summer 2020


Street Cleaning

November 2019


  • Full-time street cleaner to keep the streets clean and clear of litter and dog fouling
  • Window washing on request for worksite-facing businesses during times where extreme dust creation is the result of the works
  • A scheme to enliven the street ahead of works commencing that will include façade repainting, shutter murals and small cosmetic fixes

Free cargo bike hire

Winter / Spring 2020

Constitution Street


Spring / Summer 2020

Leith Walk


  • We are working with an active travel group to introduce cargo bikes to Leith Walk and Constitution Street. This will allow local business to make use of them to service deliveries to customers and move goods around.
  • Our logistics team are currently trialing bikes, trikes and trailers at our Mitchell Street hub ahead of a full roll out across Leith Walk in 2020.

Local transports hubs


March 2020

Leith Walk

  • Car parking spaces on Leith Walk and Elm Row for customers.

Business continuity fund

Constitution Street

November 2019


Leith Walk

Spring 2020

The Trams to Newhaven Business Continuity Fund has been established to provide a means of support for businesses that suffer short-term cash flow issues during the construction of the project. This will give those businesses affected businesses access to funds that will help to alleviate any short-term pressures on business operations. The criteria for accessing this fund is set out below.

To be considered for financial support from the business continuity fund, a business must:

  • be situated on a street affected by the tram works (or on a side street whose only access is from an affected street or in the immediate vicinity of the works)
  • have been operational for at least 6 months prior to construction start date;
  • derive the majority of its revenue from customer footfall; and
  • be an independent retailer with no more than 4 branches

What qualifies for funding?

  • Rent payments
  • Staff overheads e.g. wages
  • General operational costs e.g. utility bills
  • Business rates
  • Other costs agreed as essential at the discretion of the Council

Level of financial contribution

To ensure that the fund operates in an effective way and works for the largest number of businesses as possible, there are some limits on the level of financial contribution that each individual business can qualify for:

  • Maximum number of single payments to each affected business over the construction period:2
  • Maximum amount paid out in any single payment £3000
  • Maximum fund available to any qualifying business over the construction period £6000
  • There will be a minimum waiting time of three months between each application

Applying for support

Applications for support would be made via the contact centre using the [email protected] email address. 

Applicants will be required to provide evidence of financial difficulties hardship via bank statements and/or accounts as requested.

Community fund

  • A fund to support local arts groups, community groups, artists and festivals
  • It is expected that some of this money will be distributed via a participatory budgeting model, similar to Leith Chooses, giving the community decision making power over how the fund will be spent.