Leader: Important for city to go that extra Mile

EDINBURGH’S Royal Mile can fairly lay claim to being Scotland’s most historic thoroughfare. But its condition today is little short of shocking. City council leaders admitted as much yesterday when they said parts had become “dreadful” to visit.

From poor-quality roads and pavements through traffic congestion to the “tourist tat shops”, there was certainly no lack of concerns raised by residents and traders at the charrette organised by the city council yesterday. This was a welcome initiative by the council to bring forward ideas for change. These ranged from the appointment of a Royal Mile task force to a spring clean initiative to remove unnecessary clutter and unsightly graffiti.

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There are bigger concerns. The most immediate is the 60 per cent council rent rises slapped on traders, which can only work to drive out business and leave the approach to the Scottish Parliament even more down-at-heel. These rapacious rises are contrary to the city’s stated aim to support enterprise and an immediate impact study must be made of this destructive policy.

It should also undertake a radical rethink of the Caltongate project lest World Heritage status is put in jeopardy. A more imaginative development is surely called for that better reflects the Hanseatic appeal of this once great thoroughfare.