Comment: Grassmarket traders on to a winner

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GREAT things are happening in the Grassmarket and none of them involves stag and hen parties, inappropriate inflatable items or drinking to excess.

For a major rebranding exercise is under way for Edinburgh’s party-central which it is hoped will breathe new life – and new clientele – into the historic location.

On the back of the multi-million pound redevelopment and the subsequent establishment of a Business Improvement District, plans are afoot to transform the area’s offering.

It has started already with a new weekly market and will continue, say organisers, with the likes of outdoor film screenings and live music in the summer months.

All of which seems like a pretty good and long-overdue initiative.

While it is fair to say the Grassmarket BID has had its fair share of well-reported teething problems as some traders refuse to pay up, most people will surely welcome moves to fully exploit what is one of the best and most under-used public spaces in the city.

Judging by the success of events at the revamped St Andrew Square and the highly successful farmers’ market in Stockbridge, the Grassmarket traders would surely be on to a winner in an area of such high footfall and natural beauty.

Ensuring Edinburgh has a constantly evolving offering to both tourists and locals alike is key to its success and the Grassmarket can have an important role to play here going forward.

It may be best known for stag and hen parties in the guide books but it should not be saddled with that unwanted tag forever, especially after so much public money has been ploughed into improving its appearance.

The opportunity exists to turn it into a year-round destination for families.

Let’s hope everyone gets behind the plans so that in the future you are just as likely to head down there for a spot of organic venison as you are for a drink with a stag.