Councils paid £3.5 million to businesses affected by tram extension

Construction of the line extensions took three years.

Two councils paid out a total of nearly £3.5 million to 128 businesses affected by the construction of Nottingham’s expanded tram network, it has been revealed.

The new lines through Clifton and Beeston opened last August after three years of building work and disruption.

Now a report has shown how much money Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council had to pay out in support of traders whose businesses were affected.

The document written by Mike Barnett, a manager at Via East Midlands, the firm which manages highways services on behalf of the County Council, outlines the first year of the operation of the expanded network.

It shows the county and city councils agreed multiple financial packages to support traders hit by tram works: the Financial Assistance Package (FAP), the Exceptional Disturbance Allowance (EDA) and a separate hardship fund.

In total, the city council’s contribution to the FAP and EDA was just under £2m – which includes payments to businesses in Beeston and on Chilwell Road – while the county council paid £1,234,959 to affected businesses accessing the FAP and EDA.

The network extension works cost more than £500 million.

Meanwhile, both authorities contributed £100,000 each to the separate hardship fund, which was designed for traders “experiencing particular financial difficulties during the construction period”.

A city council spokesman said a total of 128 businesses across the network benefited from the FAP and EDA.

Meanwhile, 22 businesses have received money from the hardship fund.

The extended network to park and ride sites in Toton and Clifton added 17.5km of new track and 28 new stops.

The report added vacancy rates at retail and leisure premises in Beeston fell by 10 per cent since April 2014, when the extended network was still under construction.

“The national average most recently reported in April 2016 is… 10% which casts the figure for Beeston in very good terms,” the report said.

In addition, plans have been drawn up for a dedicated entrance into the Queen’s Medical Centre from the hospital’s tram platform.

Councillors will discuss the report at Thursday’s transport and highways committee meeting at County Hall.

The extensions cost £570 million and opened eight months later than planned.

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