Plan for community garden at Jacob’s Ladder stairs

The Regent Road entrance to Jacob's Ladder. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Regent Road entrance to Jacob's Ladder. Picture: Greg Macvean

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LAND surrounding the litter-blighted Jacob’s Ladder stairway close to Waverley Station is to be cleaned and transformed into a community garden.

The area is being lined up to host an orchard, wildflower meadow or vegetable growing sites under plans unveiled by staff at the Old Town Development Trust (OTDT).

They will share in a £200,000 pot which has been created to drive forward local improvements during construction of the £150 million New Waverley development.

Jacob’s Ladder, which is carved from the volcanic rock of Calton Hill, leads down from Regent Road and emerges under the Calton Rail Bridge.

As well as the OTDT garden, five other projects are to receive a cash boost.

These include Edinburgh World Heritage proposals aimed at improving the appearance of New Calton Burial Ground and plans for enhanced festive lighting in the Canongate area. Community leaders have welcomed news of the Jacob’s Ladder revamp.

Bill Cowan, chair of Old Town Community Council, said: “The whole area – the railway bridge, Calton Road – is in an appalling state, infested with pigeons. I wouldn’t walk down there in the dark.

“£200,000 won’t go very far if you’re having to re-tarmac a road but it will do a lot of 
gardening. We like the idea of permanent things. But enhancement that’s temporary for the duration of a [development] project is good too.

“We think it would be a good idea if developers on all major projects were obliged to put up a certain amount of money for community projects and similar activities.”

The New Waverley Community Fund (NWCF) is a joint project between the city council and Artisan Real Estate Investors, the developers of New Waverley.

Artisan bosses said they were delighted to see improvement proposals moving forward.

Clive Wilding, New Waverley’s project director, said: “These exciting projects show exactly why New Waverley is, and will become, such a special city centre destination.

“They all celebrate the unique attributes that the area has – both in its physical heritage and the wonderful nooks and crannies that you can find there. The projects include innovative art installations, the opening up of secret green spaces and the excitement of festive lighting – all becoming a brilliant and vibrant showcase highlighting what our development can bring to the city.”

City chiefs said the plans were a sign of growing momentum behind the New Waverley development.

Councillor Frank Ross, economy leader, said: “Work at the New Waverley site is now very visible and gathering pace.

“The development will create thousands of new jobs including apprenticeships, as well as boosting the local economy.

“Some really interesting projects have been successful and will help to create a real buzz in the area ahead of the development being completed.”