RESIDENTS are being invited to help decide how the Capital’s globally renowned world heritage site is run.
A massive consultation, which runs until the end of July, will form the foundation of a “robust” new management plan aimed at retaining the city’s treasured status.
It comes after Unesco warned it had “deeply worrying” concerns over the quality of new developments in Edinburgh.
Earlier this year, the world heritage body told the UK Government of their “strong concern” about the level of protection for the Old and New Towns following a string of controversial projects.
The council, Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland – formerly Historic Scotland – are now seeking the views of local residents as they prepare to launch a new management plan in spring 2017.
Councillor Ian Perry, the city’s planning leader, said the Capital’s world heritage site – which takes in much of the Old and New Towns – was of “crucial importance to the future vision and development of the city”.
He said: “This consultation process is an opportunity for everyone to have their say on how the site is being run.
“We would like as many people as possible to let us know what they think is working well, and where we can make improvements.”
In February, Unesco advisers warned that Edinburgh’s world heritage status – in place since 1995 – faced a “significant threat” from new developments.
Seven sites were singled out as being of particular concern, including the £850 million St James Quarter revamp and a £75m bid to turn the old Royal High School on Calton Hill into a luxury hotel.
The latter was rejected by councillors last year following an all-day planning meeting, but is currently being appealed by developers.
Any changes to Edinburgh’s world heritage site management plan – which aims to recognise “challenges and threats” and “preserve and enhance” the area – could have an impact on future developments and restoration projects.
Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: ‘The management plan consultation may sound like a theoretical exercise, but the plan is a living document that provides the base from which the partners in the management of the world heritage site guide change.
“Its review is an important opportunity for the communities of the world heritage site and the city in general to ensure their voice is heard.”
Barbara Cummins, director of heritage management at Historic Environment Scotland, added: “We welcome the launch of the consultation.”