Traders have lashed out at figures showing residents are twice as happy with the city’s urban landscape than the year before – despite relentless tram works and buildings masked by scaffolding.
The survey also suggests a three-fold increase in citizen satisfaction for City Centre and Craigmillar, with 91 per cent registering their approval of both council wards compared with 35 per cent and 27 per cent the previous year.
The positive statistics have been branded “pointless” by heritage chiefs, while market research experts were at a loss to explain the huge annual fluctuation.
Dubbed “environmental quality indicators”, the index can be used to measure the impact of planning decisions on the “quality of Edinburgh’s built and natural environment”.
It posed the question: “Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with quality of new buildings and the spaces around them in your local area?”
But city centre business owners were unimpressed with the “outrageous” results.
Grant McKeeman, of Copymade in West Maitland Street, who claims disruption from the tram project has cost him £2000 a week, said he thought the data – collated by Glasgow firm Research Resource – was a “pack of lies”.
“I find the figures impossible to believe and I would like to know how the survey was conducted,” he said. “I used to work in market research and can say most of the results that come out are false. I just don’t believe any of those figures.“
Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association, said that the statistics were “meaningless. “Just looking at the figures, you could come away with a false impression of the situation,” she said.
“You have to chuckle when you look at these because at the moment they are meaningless. Anecdotally, it doesn’t correspond in anyway whatsoever with the kind of caseload that the Cockburn Association has.
“I wouldn’t take much notice of it and I hope the councillors don’t either.”
A polling expert, who declined to be named, said fluctuations seen in the satisfaction survey were “not common at all” and the results were a bit of puzzle because neither the question nor methodology had changed since the two samples were taken.
But Councillor Ian Perry, planning convener, said that despite being in only its second year the trend was “encouraging”.
“We need to see at least another three years’ worth of results before we can determine a real trend,” he said.