Have your say on Edinburgh's use of public spaces

Views are being sought on how best to use Edinburgh’s key public spaces.

Residents, local organisations and businesses are being asked for their opinions on proposals to balance the use of civic spaces, both owned by the Council and not, in the city centre. 

Feedback from an online consultation will be used to inform the development of a Public Spaces Protocol, which will support Council decisions on the most appropriate use of spaces like the Grassmarket, the Mound precinct and the High Street.

Edinburgh’s status as a world renowned Festival City, World Heritage Site and visitor destination will be considered alongside residents’ quality of life, the requirements of established local businesses, as well as seasonal traders, and promoters or organisers of events and activities. 

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “As a capital city, Edinburgh boasts a wide range of attractive and accessible spaces in which the public can spend time and enjoy diverse and world-class events.

“In order to cater to all those who use these spaces, including residents, visitors, businesses and traders, as well as ensuring the fair and balanced staging of events across all the areas on offer, it is necessary that we establish a clear set of guidelines.

“By trialling a number of approaches across spaces in the city, I am confident that we will able to create informed and relevant criteria, and I look forward to hearing what the public think of our approach.”

Trials are already in place to test the different approaches to managing public spaces across the city. In George Street, a set of criteria has been developed to assess proposals put forward by event organisers for large scale festival-related events, while this summer in the Grassmarket a series of measures are in place to deliver a more coherent approach to managing activity in the area.

Evaluation is also currently underway on best practise for Castle Street, which was redeveloped in 2008 but is now considered under-used. Outcomes from this and the other two trials will contribute to the final Public Spaces Protocol.  

The Public Spaces Protocol is part of the City Centre Programme, which incorporates a number of projects with a 'place-making' agenda. The Programme focuses on a vision for the city, ensuring that everyone who cares about the centre has an opportunity to have their say.

The Use of Public Spaces consultation is open until Tuesday, 6 September and is available for participation on the Council website.


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