When the original plans were thought of for the new tramway in Edinburgh part of the funding was due to come from developers who would benefit from trams running past their buildings and it now appears that these contributions will continue to be collected from firms on the currently abandoned line through to Newhaven. It had widely been thought that developers on the proposed line between the city centre and Newhaven would now not be required to give money but the City of Edinburgh Council now look set to continue on collecting to put it into a central pot for if and when the current one line is extended.
Council leaders now believe that there is a strong chance in the short to medium term of the line to Newhaven via Leith from the city centre being built as they are expecting once the line from the Airport is up and running public opinion will start to change and the people of Edinburgh will take to their state of the art tramway – just as happened in Dublin.
Cllr Ian Perry, planning leader on the council, said: “When traffic starts to reach a critical mass, my view is the tram line will have to go down Leith Walk. What happened in Dublin is exactly the same as what will happen in Edinburgh. A lot of people were sceptical until they saw the evidence. It’s also legitimate for the council then to come in and say ‘If you want the tram serving you, and property prices are going up, then we’re going take a contribution to help’. We’re mindful of that and that’s why we’re keeping the contributions going.”
The line between the city centre and Edinburgh Airport is due to open to passengers in summer 2014 with work underway across the route at the moment with a hoped for finish by the start of next year so that commissioning and testing can be undertaken. No timescale has been given for the opening of any extensions – if indeed they ever get further than the plans that now exist.