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Trams to Newhaven — Member Profile for June 2021 newsletter

Published 17 June 2021 by Transform Scotland

Trams to Newhaven Supporting Local Businesses  

Now 18 months into construction, the Trams to Newhaven project is making visible strides in its progress. The project, which will add 4.69 kilometres of track to the existing Edinburgh tramline, is set to take its first paying customers by Spring 2023.

Connecting Leith and Newhaven to the city centre and adding eight new stops, Trams to Newhaven will offer residents access to high capacity light rail. This will sit alongside the existing Lothian bus service, as well as improved cycling and walking infrastructure along the route.

Construction commenced in November 2019, while at the same time a £2.4 million support for business package for local businesses was also introduced. This package includes an open for business marketing campaign for the local area, an art mural trail and a voucher scheme for independent businesses. In partnership with deal website Itison, the discount scheme allows customers to purchase vouchers online to spend in local stores at a discounted rate. The discount is funded by the project and local businesses receive 100% of the vouchers value. This scheme has proved extremely popular with Edinburgh locals, with vouchers selling out within days of release. So far over £150k worth of vouchers have been sold for redemption in small businesses across the construction route.

A small mural trail was also launched in Leith last Summer. This mural trail comprises of over 20 utility cabinets on Leith Walk and Constitution Street, exhibiting the work of local aspiring and established graffiti and street artists. Artists have often themed their designs around the unique and diverse culture of Leith, with boxes inspired by local folklore and the neighbourhood’s motto ‘persevere’. Hoped to enliven the area, further murals are set to be added to the art trail later this year.

Furthermore, Trams to Newhaven has a dedicated business support service. This service aids small businesses affected by construction to engage in training and development activities. Delivered via the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, training courses such as ‘Social Media for Small Businesses’ and ‘Small Business Branding’ have been launched to ensure these businesses not only survive the short-term strain of construction but thrive following the introduction of trams into Leith.

You can find out more about Trams to Newhaven, further support for business measures and the project’s progress at