Produced by The City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage, this is an extract from the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management Plan 2017-2022 Appendix D
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“A consultation exercise was carried out to allow members of the public to have their say in how the Site should be run. It gathered feedback from almost 600 respondents in the summer of 2016.
Public meetings were held with different community and residents’ groups; the methodology of the Place Standard tool was used to start a conversation on public perception of the issues affecting the Site.
The issues and challenges were grouped under 14 key themes, which due to the nature of the Site are all interrelated. Some of the celebrated strengths (scoring 5 out of 7 or more):
- Natural Space
- Identity and belonging
- Feeling Safe
- Facilities and amenities
Overall, the respondents are very satisfied with Edinburgh’s city centre as a place to live and work. The parks and green spaces were very highly rated and the city centre is felt to be safer than most the one’s of other comparable capitals. More lighting at night and a reduction of the traffic speed was suggested to create an even greater sense of safety in the area.
Edinburgh’s strong visual identity and its years of history were thought to be contributing to a real sense of pride and belonging to the city. The respondents felt generally positive about the level of amenities and facilities the city centre offers, as there is a wide range of offer and there are easily accessible.
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Areas of debate (scoring 3 to 4 out of 7):
- Moving around
- City centre economy
- The cost of living, the city centre economy and the ease to move around were topics that generated a lot of comments.
Affordable housing is a key issue and it was felt that the city centre should be providing more affordable housing options to retain its resident population in the city centre. And while the compactness of the city is seen as an asset, many said that traf c still dominates pedestrian and cycling movement. Opinion was divided as to whether the Royal Mile achieved enough for its residents as it is thought to be too geared towards tourists.
Out of the 14 initial themes, the 6 themes that scored the lowest or engendered the most negative comments were:
- Care and Maintenance of buildings and streets
- Control and Guidance
- Contribution of new developments to city centre
- Influence and sense of control
- Visitor Management
- Awareness of World Heritage Site
When asked to think about the level of care and maintenance of buildings and streets, residents felt that there is still a lot to be done. Issues such as general litter and the quality of road and pavements were mentioned. Making sure that planning laws were enforced is critical for the respondents. Recent new developments divided opinion, the respondents are hoping for better quality and more innovative architecture that is respectful of the Old Town and New Town’s architectural context.
The influence and sense of control is one area that could be improved as the respondents felt they were being asked to participate but failed to see the impact of this participation.
The balance between visitor and resident needs was a source of numerous comments. The Royal Mile attracts the largest number of tourists but is seen to not deliver enough for the resident’s population. While despite the fact the awareness of the city centre’s World Heritage site status was rated highly, respondents were mostly unaware of what it meant and what the benefits were.”