A series of studies investigating the public life of Edinburgh’s town centres reveal how each currently functions in terms of pedestrian/cyclist movement and as a place.
Public Life Street Assessments, carried out by design consultants HERE+NOW for the Council, involve a mix of direct observation methodologies, user interviews and more focussed sub studies such as facade, land use and activity studies. In-depth analysis of this data identifies trends in the way people currently use the street environment. This has informed suggested opportunities for improvement.
The studies provide valuable information for all parties with an interest in maximising public life within Edinburgh’s town centres. They have already informed the preparation of Supplementary Guidance for each of the town centres, draft Locality Improvement Plans and a design and an improved public space trial project within Stockbridge.
Update – using the studies
One of the studies has already informed input to a Locality Improvement Plan (LIP) – the South West LIP includes reference to the Gorgie/Dalry Town Centre which was informed by the relevant study. More detailed work will be under taken to develop to a delivery plan with associated timescales.
The Supplementary Guidance, which are about to be adopted, will be used to determine relevant planning applications.
The studies will also be used as an input to the LDP Action Programme, due to be updated early 2018. We’ll share the Action Programme here on the blog and on Twitter when it’s out too.
At our meeting on 5 December, the Planning Committee agreed new guidance for Tollcross which will guide the type of uses that will be supported in the main shopping area. As well as shops, we will support other complementary uses such as estate agents, cafes or restaurants in most parts of the town centre. Although we still want a strong retail offer, by being open to other uses that attract people to the area we hope to enhance the vitality and vibrancy of Tollcross.
The Council is committed to ensuring that our town centres serve those who live, work, visit and shop and will continue to thrive in the future. We now plan to look closely at all the other town centres in a similar way over the next couple of years.
Guidance to support the development of ‘The Edinburgh Bioquarter’ on land next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was also agreed by the Committee. The aim is that the area will become a top 10 global centre of excellence for life sciences with the potential to create a significant number of jobs. The guidance sets out an exciting vision for the creation of a mixed use, urban quarter which protects and enhances the landscape setting of the city. Consultation on the detailed draft masterplan for the area will take place over the coming months.
The Committee also agreed revised guidance on adverts including the use of digital advertising. This is an emerging issue with media companies keen to make adverts time specific and able to be frequently changed and managed remotely. However, it is important that digital advertising does not have an adverse impact on public safety or the amenity of nearby residents or special places such as the World Heritage Site. You can read the all the Planning Committee reports in full online.