Proposed design the result of extensive consultation

Street event outside the George Street Assembly Rooms

The concept design for George Street has been well received with many of you supporting the proposals.

You can see the design for yourself then tell us how you might enjoy a revitalised George Street in 2025.

The proposals follow several years of development and engagement to refine design objectives with the public and stakeholders. This has included community councils and heritage, business, walking, cycling and accessibility groups. You can read more about the history of the project and previous consultation outcomes.

We’re continuing to engage and this week we’re running further sessions for businesses and residents. All feedback will inform a final iteration of the design proposal before being brought to Transport and Environment Committee in April. The required statutory processes under which the scheme will be constructed would begin this summer. Read what some of the key groups we’ve worked with have to say:

Simon Strain, Interim Head of Infrastructure Delivery for Sustrans Scotland said: “George Street is one of the most vibrant and distinctive shopping streets in Scotland, thanks to the insightful planning of James Craig. We are pleased to be supporting the increased space for walking, wheeling and cycling that this project will create, upgrading one of the city’s key travel routes. The new spaces for sitting and relaxing provide both visitors and residents with comfortable spaces where they can rest and enjoy the World Heritage Site.”

Edinburgh Access Panel

"EAP is aware that George Street currently presents many obstacles for people with disabilities. We are delighted to be involved in a scheme which will remove so many barriers that prevent a significant proportion of the population, both residents and visitors from being able to participate fully in the many facilities that are available in this attractive central city location."

Living Streets Edinburgh

“Edinburgh – perhaps uniquely for a European city of its size and history – lacks any significant space in the city centre where pedestrians really come first.  George Street has been dominated by traffic and parking for too long and is the obvious place to put this right in the heart of the New Town. These proposals offer the prospect of George Street becoming a place where it is finally a pleasure to walk in and linger.”

Richard Grant, from Spokes, said: “George Street forms a crucial section of the Council's flagship west-east 'CCWEL' cycleroute project, as well as being a major destination in its own right.  The new George Street plans, taking lessons from European "cycle streets," provide a wide central "cycling zone" shared with blue badge and (at restricted times) delivery vehicles treated as 'guests.'   This replaces the previously planned segregated bidirectional cycleroute.

 “This will be an innovative scheme for Scotland, which could be widely followed, and as such the Council must get it right. Given the funding from Sustrans, safe and pleasant conditions for cycling and walking are critical. Spokes welcomes the scheme subject to strict enforcement of the limited number and timings of permitted vehicles, as well as design details.  We particularly welcome the assurance of enforcement, by automated means such as number plate recognition or in other ways, which is essential to success.”

George Street Association

“There is no doubt that the current pre-occupation of George Street Association members is how to recover when the prolonged coronavirus restrictions are lifted.  However, we have a mutual interest with the City Council and others involved in this ambitious project to deliver the high-quality changes needed for the future success of this iconic street. This overdue transformation to the appearance and operation of George Street will impact on our members and affected businesses in the area will need support throughout the inevitable disruption involved. We appreciate the opportunity for ongoing engagement with the City Council on the final concept design and thereafter.”

Essential Edinburgh

“Essential Edinburgh welcome the proposed concept designs for George Street which are the result of extensive consultation. It is vital the design works for all its users whether they be retail and hospitality businesses, residents, office workers and people undertaking active travel.  The design takes this into account including issues related to servicing and accessibility and we look forward to continuing to work with the Council and other stakeholders to support delivery of a plan that works for all.”

Edinburgh World Heritage

‘Edinburgh World Heritage is highly supportive of the design for the public realm improvements in George Street as currently proposed. Over time, the proposal has evolved into a simple and elegant design, removing traffic and street clutter, with the potential to enhance the character and authenticity of this significant centrepiece of the First New Town in relation to its existing state. New elements have been carefully introduced and will echo the symmetry and materials of the historic streetscape. Based on the current visuals, we believe these changes will improve the way the street is experienced and valued by putting pedestrians first and allowing them to enjoy the rich heritage which surrounds them. We would like to thank the City of Edinburgh Council for taking our views on board at critical stages during the design process.’

Published: 3rd March 2021