Edinburgh residents ‘second proudest in UK’

Historic landmarks such as the Scott Monument make city residents proud. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Historic landmarks such as the Scott Monument make city residents proud. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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EDINBURGH has been named one of the proudest cities in the UK – and it’s mostly down to the city’s historic landmarks, galleries and museums.

A survey found 90 per cent of Edinburgh residents said they were very or fairly proud to live here. Only Brighton scored higher, on 91 per cent.

And when the YouGov researchers asked what people in Edinburgh loved about their city, historic landmarks topped the poll with 95 per cent, while 84 per cent said local culture, defined as galleries and museums.

Good transport links also rated highly – mentioned by 69 per cent – as did green space (66 per cent) and restaurants (61 per cent). But modern developments have left locals cold, with the lowest score – 19 per cent – given to “modern landmarks”. Nightlife rated only 27 per cent and shops 30 per cent.

Heritage watchdogs were not surprised that in a city boasting such famous icons as Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument, historic landmarks were held in such high regard – nor that modern buildings were rated so low.

Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association, said the concrete mass of Argyle House in Lady Lawson Street was one of the “major dislikes”.

She said: “It’s very visible from the places like the Castle and the Outlook Tower and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

“But people also don’t like all these new stone-clad glass buildings we’re getting in developments like Caltongate and the St James Quarter. As one-offs they don’t attract all that much criticism, but the fact we’re getting so many of them is a problem.”

Ms Williams said the Scottish Parliament building – once a top target for criticism – was no longer such a bugbear for people. “They have got used to it and they have other things to worry about – people are more concerned about the Royal High School and what’s going to happen there.”

But she said the YouGov findings showed why the Cockburn Association was needed. “Some 95 per cent like historic landmarks, 19 per cent like the modern ones.

“The Cockburn likes both, but in the right balance. The modern has to be sympathetic and in keeping with the historic. At the moment we feel the balance is wrong – and these statistics back that up.”

City council leader Andrew Burns welcomed the survey results.

He said: “We are delighted that Edinburgh’s residents are so proud of their city – we feel the same way. The Capital is packed with stunning historical landmarks and beautiful open spaces, as well as a thriving cultural scene, which I know its citizens appreciate and this survey demonstrates that.

“Edinburgh boasts an excellent integrated transport system too, and these results back up positive levels of satisfaction in public transport shown in our last Edinburgh People Survey, as well as similarly positive figures from Transport for Edinburgh.

“This poll is the latest of many accolades recognising Edinburgh’s appeal, making it one of the best places to visit, work, live and study in the world.”

The lowest performing cities in the survey were Nottingham (62 per cent proud) and Leeds (69 per cent).

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com