Manifesto to manage the use of city's public spaces

The City of Edinburgh Council is set to carry out a consultation into the management of events in the city centre’s public spaces.

Feedback will help the Council create a Public Spaces Manifesto, which will provide a policy framework for events in spaces open to the public.

Proposals are to be discussed by councillors at next week’s Transport and Environment Committee.

The aim of the manifesto will be to offer greater clarity for prospective event-holders, neighbouring residents and businesses on appropriate event types and frequency and the preferred use of different spaces in the city centre.

It will build on discussions with a range of stakeholders, including Business Improvement Districts, community councils and festival organisers, who agreed that there was a need to deal with event management in civic spaces.

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “It makes sense that we provide a framework to ensure we strike the right balance between our calendar of world-class events and the maintenance of an attractive, accessible city centre for all those living in, working in and visiting it.

“We have worked closely with the relevant organisations to address this matter so far, and now want to hear from the wider public on how best to manage civic spaces in the city centre.”

Stakeholders stated that, while existing policy framework is effective, there are no clear guidelines on the preferred function or use of each civic space and therefore no criteria to select between several competing applications to hold an event there.

They also noted the lack of a mechanism allowing the Council to protect public spaces from over-use or constant use by one organisation, unlike Council-owned parks and greenspaces, which are covered by the Parks and Greenspaces Events Manifesto.

It has now been recommended that interim guidance addressing these gaps is trialled on Castle Street, a space which has benefited from public realm investments but is still considered to be under used.

The outcome of the trial, which will test a more prescriptive approach to holding events, along with a major 18-month public consultation on the use and management of civic spaces in the city centre, will inform a Public Spaces Manifesto, to be reported to committee in 2016.

Read more about recommendations in the report, which will be discussed at Transport and Environment Committee on 2nd June.

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