Leader: ‘We lost sight of all that’s going right’

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After all the economic doom and gloom of recent months, seeing the city centre rated as one of the most resilient shopping destinations in the UK has to be good news.

It has to be said, though, that many people will be surprised by the findings of the survey by respected business analyst Experian.

We have grown so used to hearing about what is wrong with Princes Street and the surrounding area that perhaps we have lost sight a little of what is right
about it.

There are some fantastic stores, great places to eat and drink and of course the setting – despite the roadworks and so on – is simply stunning.

Yet scratch below the surface and it becomes clear that this study is a vote of confidence in the potential of the city centre much more than its current attractions.

The relative wealth of many of our residents, the strength of our tourist and other industries which provide so many local jobs and so on have helped to rank Edinburgh so highly.

In other words, the potential customers are there in their droves, if the city centre can provide the right kind of environment to draw them in.

The council is currently looking at some of the most dramatic changes to Princes Street and George Street that we have seen for many years.

These changes would shift the existing balance between cars and pedestrians and make the city centre a much more pleasant place to spend time.

There are, of course, concerns about the impact of losing car parking spaces on George Street and moving bus stops that are currently right on the doorstep of the main stores. And they need to be carefully addressed.

However, rather than question the need for radical change, this new report simply highlights the huge potential for the city centre to thrive if we get those changes right.

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