IT was known as Edinburgh’s “Amber Mile” and famed for its long stretches of bustling pubs.
But now Rose Street is set for a major facelift that could see it rivalling London’s famous Carnaby Street – with repaving, illuminations, and street furniture among the additions.
Modelled on the lively Soho destination, Rose Street will also be re-branded with stylish entrance signs similar to Merchant City in Glasgow while images are to be projected onto buildings at night. Bunting and banners will be installed throughout the seasons and officials are looking at establishing market days.
It is hoped the revamp will give Rose Street a greater sense of identity and clearly link the separate sections of the thoroughfare. There have been no significant improvements in the street since the early 1990s.
Planning officials said paving was “tired, defective and in need of refreshing” and that entrances to Rose Street were cluttered with signs and ill-placed cycle racks.
Funding for the ambitious venture is being provided by Essential Edinburgh – which represents and collects a levy from city centre traders – and Edinburgh City Council. Around £600,000 has been earmarked for the improvements with a further £340,000 provided by Primark.
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said of the plans to improve the public realm: “Building on Rose Street’s strengths is important, and it has been identified as an important place in the centre where people can go to eat and drink, a place of historical interest and a characterful and bohemian place which should lend itself to boutique shopping.”
Art works and murals will feature along the streetscape to reflect its heritage as a haven for bohemian poets and writers of the past. Mark Turley, director of the communities department at Edinburgh City Council, said the investment would allow it to complement George Street and Princes Street.
He wrote that it “offers an alternative to Princes Street and George Street including a place to drink and eat, a place of historical interest and character and a place for boutique and speciality shops”.
The Rose Street project is part of wide improvements to the city centre before the completion of the tram route. Work on George Street and St Andrew Square is currently being planned.
Ian Perry, planning leader, added: “Attracting people into the centre again once the trams are finished is a big issue and this investment in Rose Street is a key part of that plan.”