‘It desperately needs a vision for its future’

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children’s play areas on George Street? The idea is not as daft as it might sound.

The reason most people will initially baulk at the suggestion is because we still think of the city centre as being largely traffic-choked and not the kind of place that we want to hang around with the kids. While that’s undoubtedly true of Princes Street and Queen Street, George Street is an altogether different kettle of fish.

It is no longer a busy through route for cars and buses - and the hugely successful introduction of the Fringe and the Street of Lights has shown its clear potential as a pedestrian zone. The street has been positively buzzing when these events have been on.

The time might be right to be bold and follow the example of London Mayor Sadiq Khan who has pledged to ban traffic from Oxford Street.

There would be an understandable nervousness among businesses about getting rid of all those parking spaces. Would people just go elsewhere, either out-of-town or shortly to the revamped St James Quarter, where it is easy to park on the doorstep of the shops?

The greater risk though surely is in doing nothing. There is a distinct possibility that some of its anchor tenants might decide to move to where the action is - and where the giant underground car park will be too.

What then for George Street? The million dollar question is what will draw people there after the billion pound St James Quarter is complete?

The street - like its more famous neighbour - desperately needs a vision of what it wants to be. It has so much going for it, but it has to make the most of its assets.

A big part of its future must surely be as an events space which can stage special one-offs during the festivals and at other times of year. Why mot music in George Street like the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket? And there might even be space for a play area too?