New drive to create seafront attraction with global appeal

A DRIVE has been launched to transform Portobello’s ailing promenade into an international tourist destination. Arts group Big Things on the Beach is leading demands for a promenade “worthy of Scotland’s capital in the 21st century”.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 16th March 2012, 12:00 pm

Central to its plans is the redevelopment of the Edinburgh Promenade, a 30-year project to create a 17km walkway and cycleway between Cramond and Joppa which was agreed in 2008 by the city council.

The group will launch a manifesto this weekend and is urging supporters to write to politicians and sign up to its internet campaign.

Big Things on the Beach, which has commissioned temporary public artworks at the seafront since 2004, said the Capital did not make the most of having a beach.

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Chairman Damian Killeen said: “Efforts to improve the promenade have stalled.

“Most people we speak to about the promenade talk about its potential and it’s a shame this is not being developed.

“Edinburgh has a beach that many other cities would fall over themselves to have.

“We understand the situation with the budget but the council isn’t stopping looking forward because things are difficult now and neither should we.”

Three years ago, the group secured funding from The Scottish Arts Council and the city council for the Imagine Porty Prom project, which aimed to involve the community in developing a long-term public art plan for the area.

Mr Killeen added: “We’ve already done a great deal of work. Now we’re on the edge of something that could be really significant and exciting and we would urge the next council to engage with that.”

Trustee Diana Cairns said: “We feel Portobello promenade is an overlooked asset – not everyone knows it’s there, particularly people from outside Edinburgh.

“We know people want to see all sorts of things on the prom – some want more traditional seaside activities, some want shops and cafes, some want to see art work.

“The promenade used to be a major holiday destination and had so many popular attractions, but people’s habits changed.

“There’s been a long and slow decline. That’s not to say the prom and the beach are not without their charms but this is about realising some of the potential.”

Local Labour councillor Maureen Child said: “There is a commitment from the council to make more of the fact that we are a seaside city.”

The manifesto launch takes place on the promenade at 2.30pm on Sunday.

To find out more about the campaign visit or search for Big Things on the Beach on Facebook.