Consultation on Edinburgh's World Heritage Site Management Plan

Building on the awareness raised over the years on support available for building repairs is one of the actions included in the proposed management plan for Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns’ World Heritage site.

Improving the quality of architecture, and the experience of residents and visitors were some of the others. 

Following a consultation last summer, a draft of the document will be considered by councillors on Thursday, 30 March. A further consultation will now run from Monday, 3 April to Monday 5 June to give the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed plan.

The Site is managed by the City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage and the partners continue to work together to ensure that the plan for the next five years will protect the integrity of the built environment while at the same time ensuring it can operate as a thriving city centre.

World Heritage Sites must have robust management plans in place to ensure their Outstanding Universal Value (what makes them of worldwide importance) is preserved and enhanced. The plan will help to inform the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision and the actions that result from this. A summary document on the full plan has been produced highlighting people’s views on six different themes and future actions to ensure improvements continue to be made in the Site going forward. The six themes are care and maintenance of buildings and streets, control and guidance, awareness of the World Heritage Site, contribution of new development, visitor management and influence and sense of control.

The consultation highlighted that more can be done for the general state of repair and ongoing care and maintenance of historic buildings. Some buildings require some form of repair or maintenance to windows, roofs, stonework or guttering.

The management plan seeks to address this issue by promoting a range of initiatives such as the new voluntary Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service and improving the promotion of existing grant programmes to continue the strong tradition of conversation and preservation in the World Heritage Site.

The consultation also highlighted that awareness of the World Heritage Site varies throughout the city and the management partners will continue to work together to increase awareness through promotional events on World Heritage Day and local events such as the Meadows Festival.

Cllr Ian Perry, Convener of the Planning Committee, said: “Our World Heritage Site is of crucial importance to the future vision and development of the city. Over the last few years the Council has gone to great lengths to ensure that development in the Site is appropriate to ensure Edinburgh is the economic driver of the city region. 

“The plan highlights actions under six themes to ensure that the Site continues to be a thriving built environment balancing the needs of developers, the Site’s heritage and the people living in it. 

“It is very encouraging that through our consultation on the City Vision, public feedback for this longer-term planning exercise has already revealed the high value residents and businesses place on the quality of the historic built and natural environment in Edinburgh.

“We’re committed to initiating a further round of consultation half way through the new plan in 2020. This will be an opportunity for us to report back on progress to the city and ask for feedback on how we are doing to benefit everyone who lives in or visits the World Heritage Site.” 

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, commented: “The new Management Plan for the World Heritage Site describes many of the achievements of the past five years, as well as areas where we all need to do a better job.  Through a very open process of consultation and partnership, we have identified a series of new programmes that we believe will make a real difference to the better conservation, management and promotion of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. We’d love as many people as possible to read the summary of the plan and let us know what they think.” 

Steven Robb, Deputy Head of Casework at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Edinburgh’s World Heritage site, along with the other five we boast across Scotland, is a huge asset, both in terms of the City’s profile as a visitor destination and a place to live and work. It also helps enhance a positive perception of Scotland overall on the global stage.

“It’s therefore paramount we ensure it continues to be a thriving space within the Capital, and the Management Plan sets out that vision through its six themes and suggested actions.  We now look forward to hearing people’s views on the plan when the next public consultation gets underway early next month.”   

 

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