Businesses suffer sales hit as cycle path works disrupt city street

Businesses along Roseburn Terrace in Edinburgh have reported losses of upto 70% due to the construction work.

City of Edinburgh Council urged to help businesses as cycle path works disrupt Roseburn Terrace in Edinburgh iStock
Edinburgh: Council urged to accommodate businesses along Roseburn Terrace.

Businesses on a west Edinburgh street have said the construction of a major new cycle corridor has resulted in a dramatic drop in sales, as calls are made for the council to bolster support.

Losses of up to 70% have been reported by some operating along Roseburn Terrace, where work on the first phase of the City Centre West East Link (CCWEL) has been underway since last month.

Roadworks being carried out as part of the project mean there are now no loading bays or parking spaces available on the road for customers and deliveries.

Businesses in the area complained this was already negatively impacting income — and matters were made even worse earlier this month when construction teams discovered asbestos in cellar roofs below the pavement.

George Rendall, who owns the Arts Et Facts gallery on Roseburn Terrace, said business has fallen around 70% due to the roadworks.

He reported recently having his “quietest week in 35 years of running the shop” — making just £44.

He said: “We knew it would be a bit of a struggle getting through this but we never realised it would be as bad as it’s turned out. This is comparing it with last year’s Covid problems, you’re probably 40% down then and now we’re down again – you don’t need it.

“There’s one or two businesses that aren’t affected because there’s estate agents and things like that. It is mainly retail and the hairdressers [that] are seeing the difference after a month now. Initially, they didn’t because they’re all pre-booked.

“We really need the council to become far more accommodating to us.

“We’ve asked a couple of things to be changed but nothing’s happened yet.”

Meanwhile, John Lawson from PC Doctor, another business on the street that has taken a hit, said he’s “given up” trying to get help from the council.

He said: “Business is down at least 50% but it could be more than that. As soon as the work started and people realised there was no parking that’s stopped most of my customers coming in.

“[The Council] are not being fair, I don’t understand why they have to close the whole street off. Some of the parts of the road where there are barriers up, there’s nothing being done.”

City of Edinburgh Council assured there is no risk to public health posed by the asbestos, however the disovery has sparked fears it could take weeks to fix, and elongate the difficulties faced by those trading on the street.

Furthermore, roads officers have designated two temporary loading bays just off Roseburn Terrace to compensate for those lost due to work on the CCWEL.

But businesses said double yellow lines since painted beside the spaces have caused further confusion, with delivery drivers and customers hesitant to park in case they are ticketed.

A cohort of business owners are set to address councillors at a meeting on Thursday outlining the various issues in a bid to get support.

Furthermore, local ward councillor Scott Douglas will table a motion calling on transport convenor Lesley Macinnes to meet with owners and operators of businesses on Roseburn Terrace to “discuss the adverse effect the recently started CCWEL works have had on their income”.

Councillor Douglas said: “The CCWEL works have been devastating for the businesses along Roseburn Terrace.

“Many have seen drastic drops in their income, and given the recent delays, they’re worried they might not be able to survive the next few months.

“The measures taken by the council so far to help aren’t anywhere near enough, and we need to look into giving financial support to those who are struggling.

“I’m hoping that by allowing them to appeal to the SNP/Labour administration directly we can see some action before it’s too late.

“These businesses are vital to the local community in Roseburn and we can’t afford to lose them.”

Councillor Macinnes, Edinburgh Council’s transport and environment convener, said: “We are well aware that a scheme of this scale is likely to have an impact on traders and residents, and have taken this into account as part of our planning for the project.

“We have continued to liaise with businesses and have introduced temporary loading and unloading areas for deliveries as well as minimising the work site wherever possible.”