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Leith traders invited to help shape trams to Newhaven business support plans

Posted: 30th August 2018

Businesses along the planned tram route to Newhaven will have their say on a raft of innovative and exciting support for business proposals in a new consultation beginning next week. 

Leith and its neighbouring communities are vibrant, desirable and accessible with a diverse and independent range of shops, restaurants and businesses. The proposals are designed to maintain this unique atmosphere and to support affected businesses throughout the proposed period of construction.

The online consultation will run from 3 to 30 September 2018 to gather opinion on the support for business package which will total approximately £2.4 million of Council investment in the area. These measures are in recognition of the potential impact of the proposed tram works which would extend the successful current tram line to Newhaven.

Many of the proposed measures have been developed following feedback from local traders, members of the public and interest groups who previously took part in the first round of public consultation.

The forthcoming consultation outlines each proposed measure and gives details on how much funding could be made available for each element. Some of the measures have the potential to create a longer-term impact beyond construction, leaving a lasting legacy.

Respondents will be asked to assess the merits of a range of business support proposals, funded by the Council, including:

– A business continuity fund of £500,000 to help small independent businesses with short-term cash flow issues 

–  Ensuring a clean and attractive area – total investment of £500,000 into a fund to pay for facade improvements or repairs and regular window and facade-cleaning for worksite-facing businesses

– On street local guides – total investment of £400,000 to provide local advice and assistance, for example help for those with impaired mobility

– Business skills development – total investment fund of £100,000 towards aspects such as website design and development, email marketing and social media best practice

– A Council-funded Business Development Champion included as part of the business skills development fund to help businesses build on their business case and plans for the years ahead

– Investing in the arts during construction – total investment fund of £100,000 to support local arts groups, artists and festivals

– Market nights and shopping festivals – total investment of £100,000 which would include support for day and monthly markets

– Wider Open for Business campaign – total investment of £100,000 alongside the promotional campaign delivered by the contractor. This could include a digital Open for Business promotional campaign across the web, email and social media, wider wayfinding across the city for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, advertising banners on key approaches and digital screens  

– Local discount / voucher scheme – total investment of £50,000 

– Targeted deliveries – total investment of £25,000 towards, for example, use of cargo bikes and an app to act as a one-stop shop for people who want to shop local and arrange delivery of their goods

In addition, the Contractor has been asked, as part of their tender, to make provision for a series of measures that will help to sustain local business during construction. These are estimated to cost in the region of £500,000 and include: strategically located logistics hubs which can be used to store goods short-term and handle the movement of goods for the last or first mile of their journey; local transport hubs for parking, deliveries and temporary bus stops; wayfinding support, such as signage, maps and multiple crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists through the worksite; an Open for Business promotional campaign.

After the consultation concludes on 30 September, the Trams to Newhaven project team will finalise support for business plans, which will be included in the Final Business Case, to be decided upon by councillors in late 2018.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, said: “If the project goes ahead, supporting businesses along the route, both during and after construction works, will be a top priority. From next week, we are inviting businesses’ views on a raft of business support proposals through our online consultation. The range of measures we would put in place if the project gets the green light should cater to everyone’s needs as effectively as possible. Our key aim is to make sure the whole area stays as vibrant and accessible as possible, not just during but also beyond the essential construction phase.

“Plans for taking Trams to Newhaven continue to take shape and we’re hugely indebted to businesses, residents and interested organisations for all their help in developing the proposals. We were delighted with the significant level of engagement and feedback in the first phase of public consultation in the spring. We then held a series of very useful workshops to focus on key points brought up during that six-week consultation process. The project team is currently using all the feedback to refine the plans ahead of further engagement at the end of next month (September). This will feed into the Final Business Case going before councillors at the end of the year.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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