Comment: Talking must stop on future of Caltongate

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This year may well be remembered as the year when some of ­Edinburgh’s most contentious projects finally come to fruition – whether you like them or not.

Not so long ago you would have been laughed out of town for suggesting the idea of taking a tram into the city centre, perhaps on your way for a drink at the SoCo development, stopping briefly to admire the work underway on the massive Caltongate site.

Today, this looks like reality. The tram will hopefully be arriving by May at the latest, SoCo has already risen from the ashes of the Cowgate site, and next week the long-running saga of Caltongate may finally, finally be resolved.

All of which, putting the ­arguments to one side for a ­moment, is good news, not least for the economy of the city.

The arguments over how the Caltongate site should be developed have been well debated and surely it is now time for the talking to end and the building to start.

Don’t forget permission is already in place for what is a far more contentious scheme, and while the current objections should not be dismissed out of hand, we have to be realistic.

Something needs to happen and soon, these plans are generally considered to be an improvement on the previous scheme and this is an area which desperately needs investment.

The option and the result of ­refusal could be work starting ­immediately on the scheme which caused so much controversy when it was originally given the go-ahead. Or it could mean an ugly mud desert being left slap bang in the middle of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site for years to come.

Either way, they do not seem like attractive options to anyone.

When councillors meet on Wednesday, they have the chance to take a decision which will ­finally draw a line under the matter. Let’s make 2014 the year of getting things done.