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FSB fights for small business owners affected by Leith Programme

FSB have spoken up in the media for local small business owners in Leith who have faced months of disruption due to multiple roadworks made worse by the administration of Council’s lead contractor.

This situation is not a new one, Leith Community Council complained about the cost of delays to local business owners and residents of the ‘Leith Reinstatement Works’ four years ago, and some are now referring to a “decade of digging”. Now renamed the ‘Leith Programme’, the works have been badly delayed by a change in contractor and reports of remedial works being necessary. Many business owners are having to make do with rumours, the latest being that the closed for works Iona Street may never be reopened. Project managers Turner & Townsend held a drop-in information session in June to answer as many project questions as possible, for anyone affected who didn’t manage to attend they could try calling them on 0131 347 3400.

From September for a year all traffic coming to and from the city centre via Leith Street (where Leith Walk connects with Princes Street) will be diverted to allow utility works for the new St. James Quarter development to take place. Traffic will be sent around Calton Hill to the busy junction at the top of Easter Road leading to local business owners expressing their worries that this plan could see many people avoid the whole area because of traffic congestion, meaning a potential hit to trade for all.

FSB Member Tracy Griffen who has a fitness studio on Balfour Street close to Leith Walk said: “There’s so much uncertainty about these roadworks and how long they will last and where will be next, that’s what is a nightmare for local business owners and residents alike. With more work planned along Leith Walk and Leith Street being closed soon for a year, I worry about how some businesses will survive.”