Tram works could jeopardise capital’s Christmas celebrations

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Christmas
Santa launches Edinburgh's Christmas

 

By Cara Sulieman

EDINBURGH faces a nightmare before Christmas – the threat of overrunning tram works ruining its planned festive party.

Council chiefs have unveiled a glitzy four day extravaganza for the city centre next month to feature giant snow globes, elves and musical fountains to boost trade hit by disruption.

But even before the fake snow settled at yesterday’s launch, sources revealed that time will be so tight, any last minute hitches with the tram works could pose huge problems.

With some small work continuing into the first day of Edinburgh Sparkles, it will be a tight squeeze for the contractors who have to be clear from the site before the party can begin.

Bus stops

It was revealed that even as the first festive revellers start to descend on the party, workmen are likely to still be putting up bus stops and painting white lines back onto the tarmac.

Senior events officer Paul Philip from Events Edinburgh admitted: “There will still be bits and pieces getting tied up on November 26.

“Bus stops need to be replaced and the white and yellow lines painted on so that the road is ready for the buses on November 29.”

But tie Limited – the council owned company formed to work on the tram project – insisted that the work will run to schedule.

Round the clock

Mandy Haeburn-Little, Director of Communications for Edinburgh Trams, assured: “Work is coming along well on Princes Street with round the clock working to ensure that we will be in a position to hand back Princes Street to the city in time for the planned festive activities.

“Supporting these initiatives helps create a very special experience in the city centre and allows us to say thank you to the retailers, traders and people of Edinburgh.”

Organisers are using the scheduled break between the road works finishing and traffic returning to the iconic Princes Street to put on a spectacular four day festival.

A range of small events will be taking place along the street including musical fountains, giant snowglobes and an animatronic polar bear.

“Animation”

Running from November 26 to 28, it aims to give the shops and businesses a much-needed boost after months of disruption.

And events company She’s Gott It, who are organising Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations, say they are also confident the festivities will bring the life back into Princes Street.

Nickie Gott, Managing Director, said it was the best part of the festivities for her this year.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to the animation of Princes Street, that’s going to be really lovely – the celebrations will extend all the way down and brings Christmas to the whole of the city centre.

“It will be a great chance to celebrate the return of Princes Street and to see it being used again.”

“Great Christmas”

The economic benefit to the city was the emphasis at the launch of the programme yesterday (Weds), with events designed to bring shoppers into the city centre during the recession.

MD Gott added: “This year there has been a emphasis on what the traders need – we’ve been out and spoken to them and tried to accommodate what they need whilst bringing a great Christmas shopping experience to people.”

Edinburgh City Council are gearing up for a merry Christmas season.

The Lord Provost, George Grubb, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas is a true highlight in our calendar and one which brings real economic benefit to Edinburgh in terms of retail and tourism.

“We look forward to welcoming people as they enjoy the extended programme of festivities within our unique and stunning surroundings.”

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