Businesses to get chance to set up shop in Portobello beachfront sheds

Huts like these could soon exist at Portobello. Montage: Dave Hamburgh
Huts like these could soon exist at Portobello. Montage: Dave Hamburgh
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PORTOBELLO looks set to benefit from the creation of beach huts in a bid to revitalise the promenade.

Residents and local businesses are being asked to complete a survey on whether the proposal should go ahead. However, a host of community organisations have already stated their backing for the plans which would see up to ten beach huts situated at 
Straiton Place.

Each hut would offer a variety of goods and services such as an arts gallery, a cafe or a shop selling beach items or dog toys.

The huts would be made available to local businesses and organisations from either Friday to Sunday or by the week for up to £50 a day.

A tendering process is also being arranged for management of the huts, and it was suggested that some of the structures could be made available for families to rent out by the day.

The proposal has been considered by a host of groups for several years, but the scheme now looks set to be taken forward by the city council and town centre co-ordinator, Sarah Woodford.

Portobello Community Council chairman John Stewart said: “Personally I think this is a great idea which would serve a dual purpose. Firstly, it would attract more businesses to the area and secondly, provide some unique facilities for visitors to the area.

“The promenade would benefit greatly from this and these huts would offer a real central focal point.

“One of these huts could be set aside from small businesses for a community purpose such as a lifeguard of tourist information.”

This view was echoed by Bob Jefferson, who runs the Portobello Online website and Facebook page. He said: “I think on the whole there has largely been a very positive reaction to this proposal. People are looking at it in many different ways – not just commercial, people have expressed an interest in possibly renting a hut for the day. So maybe there could be different rate for families looking to spend a day at Edinburgh’s seaside.”

Nicola MacFarlane, of local arts group, Creative Porty said: “This is wonderful and would add vitality and sparkle back to a tired and neglected seafront.

“VisitScotland and Edinburgh City Council don’t do anywhere near enough to promote Portobello as the fantastic seaside resort it is.”

Grants to fund the project are expected to be sought in December with a view to having the huts in place before the start of next summer.

Councillor Gordon Munro, vice-convener of the economic development committee, said: “The installation of temporary beach huts in Portobello would give artists and entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell locally produced crafts, whilst at the same time encouraging more people to visit Edinburgh’s seaside during the summer holidays. At this point we are keen to test the market and feasibility with local businesses and organisations and will explore funding options to help make it happen.”