Protecting Edinburgh’s past should not stop future

EDINBURGH’S old and new towns were added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) list of World Heritage Sites in 1995.

Edinburgh's city centre became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh's city centre became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995. Picture: Ian Rutherford

It is important to remember while there is so much comment on this in the media at the moment, that Edinburgh city centre was given this status because of features such as its landscape setting and its iconic skyline.

Unesco stated at the time that the site represents a remarkable blend of two urban phenomena: organic medieval growth and 18th and 19th century town planning.

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The World Heritage site should not be seen a barrier to development in the city centre.

An economically successful city centre is critical to the future of the World Heritage Site.

It is inevitable that new developments will be attracted to the centre, and this is important for the city to evolve.

We are committed to managing this process carefully and ensuring that the greatest consideration is given to its historic environment, which ensuring the city’s future economic success.

We ensure that Unesco is updated about all new developments in the World Heritage Site as well as any buildings which are being demolished for redevelopment .

An action plan developed by the Edinburgh World Heritage Steering Group sets out how the city council and its partners aim to meet the key issues and challenges facing the World Heritage Site

Seventy-five per cent of the buildings in the World Heritage site are listed and it is important that changes are made in a way which respects the character of the individual building as well as its part in the wider conservation area.

Our Unesco World Heritage Status is something the council is immensely proud of and takes very seriously, and we will continue to work closely with Historic Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage to maintain this.

Every World Heritage Site has a management plan which sets out how changes are assessed and this is an important tool in guiding the council’s activities in the area.

• Ian Perry is convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s planning committee