On 22 February 2019 we held a shopping and leisure seminar with people who work in this sector as well as people from community councils. The seminar was a chance to share findings from our research into the shopping and leisure market in Edinburgh. As with the seminars we held on housing and visitor accommodation, these events help us gather a range of views to help shape our policies for City Plan 2030.
The event included an open discussion with a number of issues and queries raised.
The speakers included Cllr Neil Gardiner, Convener of the Planning Commitee, who welcomed the attendees to the seminar:
Daisy Narayanan (Project Director, the City of Edinburgh Council) who talked about the progress of the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation project:
Keith Miller (Senior Planner, the City of Edinburgh Council) who shared the context and timing of City Plan 2030, and our research and monitoring done on the subject of the shopping and leisure market in the city;
and Dr Mark Robertson (Ryden) who covered the draft retail and leisure commercial needs study which was commissioned by us to inform our retail policies for City Plan 2030;
Part of the draft study can be seen below, including some detailed findings on the number of shops, rent and vacant units in our town centres. You may not know that Portobello town centre has the lowest rent costs but also the lowest rate of vacancy in the city, and that Leith/Leith Walk has the most shops of all centres:
The city centre has been rated highly in surveys which were done as part of this study:
And access to shops outside of centres was covered, with this map showing parts of the city which are within walking distance of a food or local grocery shop:
The Ryden study includes a lot of data, but a few key points include;
- Vacancy levels have fallen since the recession, and are below the Scottish average.
- Although not the biggest shopping and leisure market, Edinburgh city centre ranks highly on quality. Edinburgh St James will continue to shift the market to the east of the city.
- The reduction in comparison goods shops has been offset by higher numbers of leisure and service uses, although spending on comparison goods (which shoppers buy less often, and will compare prices, features and quality between products and shops before buying) is forecast to grow up to 2028.
- There is enough convenience shopping space to allow for the expected growth of the city up to 2028.
These are all trends we will need to address as we continue to shape our policies. This is only part of the research that is going into City Plan 2030, and as the plan moves forward we will be getting more views and consulting on what the plan should include. You can keep track and take part by: