A MAJOR £400,000 revamp of Rose Street has been unveiled in an attempt to stop it being bypassed by city centre shoppers heading for Princes Street or George Street.
Business group Essential Edinburgh is leading a project to improve the appearance of the street, which contains a wide range of shops and restaurants but is best known for being populated by large crowds of stag and hen parties.
They believe the work, to be carried out in conjunction with the city council, will help revive the street, which features a range of businesses including seafood restaurant Mussel Inn, historic pub The Kenilworth, music store Fopp, clothing chain Fat Face and outdoor specialist Tiso.
Full proposals for how the money will be spent are still being finalised but are likely to include information boards at the street’s main entrances, attempting to draw shoppers in, as well as improvements to street lights, seating and pavements.
More enforcement of traffic rules will take place to ensure unauthorised vehicles don’t use the pedestrianised area.
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “We want it to be a lot more welcoming. If you are visiting Princes Street or George Street, people will go between those and not on to Rose Street.
“We are lining up all the funding with the council and we hope to be very active in the first six months of next year. By June, I would hope for a significant impact.”
The project is part of £908,000 of initiatives being lined up for the year to the end of June 2012.
The money comes from a levy paid by firms within Edinburgh’s “business improvement district”, between Princes Street and George Street.
Project budgets have been increased substantially following previous criticism of Essential Edinburgh for spending more on operating costs than it does on projects.
A major overhaul of the organisation has seen costs dramatically reduced, with operating costs for the next year expecting to be reduced to £246,500.
Other projects likely to take place include a revamp of the way waste is collected in the business improvement district area and a big increase in the amount of “gum-busting” that is carried out, with staff to clear chewing gum every day.
Mr Neal said: “As an organisation, a lot has been done during the last year streamlining the management structure and it is a credit to the team that they have kept going through that.
“We have now got through that and expect this to be a good year.”
Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “We are very supportive of Essential Edinburgh’s plans to further develop the Rose Street area.
“Match funding will be provided as the work is part of the council’s city centre improvement plan to make the area more attractive for residents, retailers and visitors.
“We look forward to working with Essential Edinburgh to shape these plans, which we hope will be implemented in the summer.”