THE Edinburgh trams extension project is moving forward too swiftly and not enough viable assurances have been made to businesses and communities, it is claimed.

Residents and businesses in the area most affected by the extension from York Place to Newhaven, which could cost £207 million, have called for commitments to tackle concerns key to minimising disruption to the daily lives of 75,000 residents and 1,500 firms if it goes ahead.

The call was made in a joint statement by Community Councils Together on Trams, a coalition of the four community councils that cover the areas most impacted.

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The group said ahead of today’s trams decision: “While we continue to support the broad principle and ambitious aims of the tram extension, a number of our concerns have yet to be fully addressed.

“We recognise that a strong feeling exists among many people in our communities that this project is being pushed through with undue and unnecessary haste.”

HeraldScotland:

CCTT, made up of Leith Central Community Council, Leith Links Community Counci, Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council and New Town and Broughton Community Council, said it has reviewed the information gathered from documents in the public domain and provided in monthly meetings with the tram project team.

It added: "We remain sceptical about the absence of sufficiently robust progress or commitment over the following measures which are essential if the tram is to achieve its steep environmental mode-shifting targets and if the collateral damage of the inevitably disruptive construction period is to be reduced."

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CCTT said it is seeking a firm commitment for "early and maximum clarity on the logistics intended to serve local businesses during construction to allow traders, along the tram corridor and - if necessary - along the diversion routes,  to plan ahead and make appropriate arrangements that will allow them to survive the inevitable disruption during the construction period".

Lesley Macinnes, Edinburgh City Council transport convener, said: “We’ve worked very closely with the community councils throughout the process of building the Final Business Case and have successfully addressed many of their concerns, including some noted in today’s joint statement.

"The six-month Early Contractor Involvement period, which would start at the end of March if the project is approved (today), will be a further opportunity, that we will enter into wholeheartedly, to further refine plans before construction gets under way.”