Edinburgh transformation plans receive strong public support

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Edinburgh, Transport and Environment,
© Suranga Weeratunga

A major consultation on proposals to radically transform Edinburgh’s city centre has revealed strong public support for change

More than 5,000 people contributed their views as part of the ‘Connecting our City, Transforming our Places’ consultation, 88% of whom said they wanted to see changes to the way Edinburgh is managed.

Over half of respondents (51%) said they wanted a more radical approach to the issues raised in delivering a city fit for the future, while three quarters of respondents supported traffic reduction in the city and town centres.

Consultation feedback has informed a series of principles for the city centre’s transformation that would deliver a vibrant city and impact positively on the economy, environment and community.

To explain the approach, examples have been provided showing how possible interventions could be implemented in the High Street, Lothian Road and Cowgate by using before and after images. These will be reported to the Transport and Environment Committee on 28 February.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Our vision for the city’s future is ambitious and it’s clear from the recent consultation that the people of Edinburgh share that ambition. There is not only a demand for change, but recognition that this needs to be significant in order to achieve an inspiring, healthier and more inviting city in which to live, work and play.

“As one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, it is clear that doing nothing is not an option. This is reflected in our desire to embrace active travel solutions, while also building upon our award-winning public transport offering by taking the trams to Newhaven, a step forward which would contribute to a truly connected, sustainable city centre.

“We must plan effectively and test radical options if we are to get the right balance in the future that will provide a high quality of life and access to opportunities for all residents, in particular those that experience inequality.”

Transport and Environment Vice Convener, Councillor Karen Doran, added: “This is about creating a co-ordinated, strategic approach to managing our city, safeguarding the centre for the community and creating a safer, more secure and healthier atmosphere for everyone. I’m delighted that feedback to our consultation supports these aims.

“We’ll be considering this report on the same day as the Final Business Case (FBC) for taking trams to Newhaven, a development which, if approved, would be pivotal to our ambitions for reimagining the city centre and its purpose, improving connections to major areas of employment, leisure and development.”

An interim report detailing progress on Edinburgh City Centre Transformation explains how the autumn consultation and ongoing engagement with stakeholders is helping develop a series of city centre principles.

This process will lead to a preferred set of proposals and business case to be presented to the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee in May 2019. Following approval, the report will be the focus for a public consultation.

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