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Investment in Edinburgh
We are working hard to raise the profile of Edinburgh and other Scottish cities (through the Scottish Cities Alliance amongst global investors to interest them in investing in the city and creating new jobs.
London based property investors were recently courted in a 'Sitematch' event which presented Scottish development sites to 34 London-based property investors. All the delegates said the event had encouraged them to invest in Scotland.
The event gave cities and potential investors (including RBS’ investment company West Register, Henderson Global Investors, Citygrove Securities and the Goodman Group) a chance to discuss in detail specific sites and prospects.
This is a good example of partnership working amongst Scotland’s cities adding value to each other’s assets rather than competing. Feedback from both cities and delegates has been very positive, demonstrating real interest in what our cities have to offer and giving us a clear steer for future events.
New affordable housing
There is an acute need for housing in Edinburgh, in particular affordable housing. We know we need 16,600 affordable homes over the next ten years. That is why I was particularly pleased to be asked by Dunedin Canmore Housing (a charity that owns and manages nearly 5,000 properties) to open their development of 109 new homes for shared ownership and rent in the Gorgie Dalry area where there is high demand.
The Council provided 7.54 million pounds of housing association grant to fund the development of the properties and this is a very good example of partnership working that provides affordable housing, kick starts a stalled construction site and supports jobs in the construction sector.
The tram project remains in line with the revised budget and timeframe. Cable installation is now well underway and will continue for the next few weeks. Overhead lines are in place along York place and on Princes Street and underground cables are now being installed during overnight shifts in the city centre.
The contractor has advised us that they have found elements of work in the city centre that doesn’t meet their quality assurance standards. A programme of work to fix this is now underway. The contractor is responsible for the costs and works will not affect the completion date. Materials are being removed in the city centre but there will be no impact on the project timescale or budget.
This unfortunately is noisy work and we apologise for the disruption caused. Noisy work will be completed within ten days and, once that is done, new material will be laid while work continues to install overhead and underground cables.
Plans are still in place to remove all tram related traffic management during the course of late summer and autumn.
The development of a tram operating agreement between the Council and the operator is now well underway and a report on progress is presented to the full Council meeting on 27 June 2013. You will find a report on progress on our committee papers online system shortly.
See the latest pictures trams highlighting progress. You can also get regular updates by following @edinburghtrams on Twitter.
Shared repair service update
Maintaining the built fabric of the city’s heritage through responding to building emergencies and helping tenement owners to address disrepair are the objectives of the new Shared Repairs Service. The new advice service has been operational since April this year and public consultation has been carried out about how it could be developed further.
A detailed workshop will take place in August to look at the many options for developing the new service further and to make sure we get the balance right between public expectation and owners’ responsibility. Whatever decision we take in August about the shape of the new service it will be the result of a thorough examination of past events, looking at what failed as well as what worked and the balance of financial risk.
Developing the service further where we get the balance right between protecting the city's built heritage, public expectation and financial risk is what will be reported to Council in August.
Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
I recently had the pleasure of helping to launch the first ever Edinburgh Festival of Cycling - the UK’s biggest cycling festival. The Council provided some funding as well as advice and support to the organisers for the packed calendar of events that runs to 23 June. This event helps us build on our already established reputation as a cycling city.
The Council has committed six per cent of our travel budget to cycling with current projects including the A90 cycle route from Haymarket to Forth Bridge and the resurfacing and widening of North Meadow Walk. Encouraging and supporting cycling is of course a very positive move in terms of sustainable transport and I would encourage all who are able to consider it seriously.
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