City centre thoroughfare pedestrianised for next year
By Matthew Lynas
PART of Edinburgh’s George Street will be pedestrianised for the next 12 months under plans to encourage a “cafe culture” in the city centre.
The move follows a consultation last year, in which City of Edinburgh Council argued that the pedestrianisation of the street during last year’s Edinburgh Festival allowed for an “extension of food and drink offerings”.
Through the trial, the council hopes to “encourage street activity” and create “a vibrant evening atmosphere” in the city centre.
The year-long trial, which will see the north side of the street pedestrianised and the south side made one-way to traffic, was scheduled to begin as SLTN went to press.
Frank Ross, economy convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, said that by creating an accessible environment the city “will not only be catering to visitors and residents but also meeting the needs and aspirations of local businesses”.
“As a major global cultural and tourist destination we play host to people working, shopping, studying and trading, and this extended trial will be about striking a balance amongst these activities so we will ensure to monitor how it works in practice,” said Ross.
Douglas Campbell, hotel manager at the George Hotel on George Street, said the trial could benefit local businesses.
“I think it’s positive if it’s done well; they did it last year during the festival,” he said.
“Certainly footfall was up when they did it last August.
“I don’t think it’s a negative, I think it’s a positive for George Street.”