Heritage

View along whole of George Street with new design

As part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the proposal protects the principles of James Craig’s simple, geometric and spacious design for the New Town. It enhances the setting of the heritage assets, such as the statues, and improves current views and vistas along George Street.

With his vision in mind, the design maintains the street’s symmetry. Removing street clutter and reducing vehicle access will provide more space to appreciate and celebrate the surrounding heritage.

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View looking east along George Street

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Current view of Castle Street

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Current view looking west along George Street

Key heritage considerations

  • retain symmetry on George Street
  • remove unnecessary street furniture and clutter
  • protect and enhance key views and vistas
  • remove central parking to reduce the current dominance of vehicles
  • improve the setting of existing statues
  • careful consideration of the specific locations for appropriate street greening
  • upgrade the pavements with high quality materials like natural stone
  • appropriate lighting to enhance the heritage features and character of the street.

Symmetry and rhythm

The diagram below shows the north/south symmetry and the east/west rhythm of the re-zoned street. In keeping with James Craig’s original vision, the street follows a regular rhythm along its length, with each block generally having the same elements and uses.

The key components of the street are evenly distributed throughout each block, ensuring convenient access to disabled parking bays, cycle facilities or loading close to shops and restaurants.

Statues

Reduced street traffic frees space for better settings for the statues along George Street. They are given room at junctions and the removal of central street parking allows them to be seen along the length of the street.

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Proposed new location for James Clerk Maxwell statue

To create safe junctions for cyclists at St Andrew Square we’re proposing to relocate the statue of James Clerk Maxwell further towards the entrance to the Square. From here it will have a commanding view of George Street and both Princes Street and Queen Street, as well as a new prominence as part of St Andrew Square.

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Proposed new location for James Clerk Maxwell statue at entrance to St Andrew Square

Materials

The ground surface on George Street is currently poor with low quality materials in worn condition. The proposal replaces these with high quality natural stone with a long life and of a quality suitable for a world-class city centre street in a World Heritage Site.

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