Leader: ‘It’s a sign of a new chapter for the Capital’

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AROUND 600 city centre traders will cast their votes in May on the renewal of Edinburgh’s first Business Improvement District (BID).

The organisation, known as Essential Edinburgh, takes a levy from traders and uses that money to provide additional services at the heart of Scotland’s capital.

Aside from battling to improve the cleanliness of the city centre, Essential Edinburgh has introduced some new initiatives such as the Alive After Five late opening campaign; has moved to curb beggars and chuggers; and helped to reduce costs for many businesses by negotiating collectively on trade waste and insurance.

Much more can be done and it is, pardon the pun, essential that Edinburgh continues with the BID, as it attempts to overcome the downturn that has resulted from the building of the trams.

Many businesses were irreparably damaged as a consequence of the construction work while many shoppers deserted the city centre because of the chaos and will need to be lured back.

A strong and united voice from traders will help to ensure that the council, businesses and organisations like Marketing Edinburgh can work quickly and efficiently to kick-start this turnaround.

The £1 million fighting fund, announced today, is a sign that the opening of the tram line next year will be an opportunity for renewal and a new chapter for the city centre.

Crackdown on gum

BUSINESS groups are right to call for a crackdown on people who litter the city’s pavements with chewing gum.

Following Keep Scotland Beautiful’s latest report showing Princes Street and the surrounding area failed to meet the target score for national cleanliness standards, there is a clear need for tougher action.

There are already regulations which mean those who fail to dispose of their gum in a proper manner can be handed a fixed penalty notice of £50. These powers should now be used rigorously in order to make clear that carelessly discarding gum is not acceptable.

A glance at the pavements in the city centre is enough to confirm the extent of the problem, which is harming the appearance of the Capital, yet it seems many people do not regard disposing of their gum in the street as littering.

Other cities have managed to tackle this issue. Handing out fines should help to address the problem, but if it does not, further action should be considered.