Comment: Plans should not detract from Capital

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it is a shame that the design of the outdoor seating area proposed for the West End of Princes Street has sparked such a furore.

The weather might not be as glorious right now as it was in July but we want to make the most of the sunshine that we do get at this time of year. And for many people that means grabbing the chance to eat and drink outdoors like thousands have enjoyed doing in George Street and St Andrew Square in recent days.

In a city like Edinburgh, these al fresco seating areas are never going to be big all-year-round attractions, but in the summer months they add a great deal to the experience of being in Edinburgh for tourists and residents alike.

That doesn’t mean though that we have to be happy with every individual plan that is put forward for a new outdoor eating area.

The spot at the corner of Lothian Road and Princes Street where the Rutland Hotel wants to create a new seating area is a sensitive one. It is one of the city’s busiest pedestrian junctions, used not just by visitors to the neighbouring Caledonian Hotel but many others 
too.

We are lucky to have been gifted by our forefathers one of the most beautiful built environments in the world. Quite rightly any proposals to build in the historic heart of the city are held up to rigorous scrutiny. New plans don’t just need to be up to scratch, they should actually enhance rather than detract from the Capital.

And that is true of temporary structures, as well as permanent ones, as they can have a huge impact on our surroundings.

The Rutland Hotel’s plans have certainly created a bit of a stink, but no one should shoot them down completely at the first time of asking.

It has to be hoped that some kind of compromise can be found which would allow more of us to make the most of the Edinburgh sunshine without spoiling the city for others at the same time.