Edinburgh’s city centre transformation to cause problems? – John McLellan

Tourism chiefs should beware crossing swords with Edinburgh council if they want control of the tourist tax revenue, writes John McLellan.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 6:00 am
Transport and environment convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Transport and environment convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The authors of the Edinburgh Tourism Strategy 2030 deserve a bravery medal for their observations on the £314m City Centre Transformation scheme, which promises to rip up the traffic network to clear cars, heavy vehicles and most large buses from the area around the World Heritage site.

“Possible disruption caused by major projects such as the City Centre Transformation will also require greater collective coordination and intervention in order to mitigate the effect on the city’s infrastructure and on residents’ quality of life,” says the strategy paper.

Hold on a second. Mitigate the effect on residents’ quality of life? Surely they don’t mean there might be problems? And isn’t the whole point of the scheme is to improve infrastructure? That’s what we’re told anyway.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Launching the public consultation earlier this year, transport convener Lesley Macinnes, pictured, said it was “an exciting and ambitious strategy, one which will deliver transformative benefits across the city and for a whole range of people travelling to and within Edinburgh”.

Having got the answers the administration wanted from the responses, the outline scheme was duly voted through in September when Cllr Macinnes observed: “We feel as if the consultation fired the starting gun and now we know that we have permission to proceed.”

Tourism industry chiefs be warned: get with the programme or there will be no Christmas cards from the City Chambers for you, never mind control of £14m worth of transient visitor lolly.

John McLellan is the Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston