Waverley Market has yet to reach full potential - Kevin Buckle
It looks like it finally is the end for the controversial pubs and eateries, but with the building on the roof that has planning permission not due to go ahead for a while yet, it is still generally agreed that an empty space is not desirable either.
However there is hope as the council as such do not object to there being food and drink sold on the roof and just have reservations about the quality of the current offering. Similarly while there is talk about the views that need to be maintained there is already an acceptable blueprint that has passed planning that can be the basis of any temporary plan.
What the centre’s owners now need to do is identify an operator that the council do consider to offer the quality that they feel the location deserves. There is no doubt people like to eat and drink on the roof and it is just a case of getting the balance right.
The focus so far has definitely been on drink and while this will always be an important part of the viability of the space there is certainly room to offer a wider selection of food offering quality while hopefully still being affordable for families.
As somebody with a shop in the centre the original concept of having retailers on the roof with maybe a couple of restaurants was ideal in that it definitely advertised there was a shopping centre there. Currently the problem is that the pubs on the roof hide the fact that there are shops below and I’m sure there are many potential customers that we currently miss out on.
Hopefully if there is a new offering on the roof there will be some space given over to making it more obvious what is below. A quality offering would no doubt be an attraction and I just need people to then be tempted to check out the shops beneath.
While I may feel business could be even better I have to admit that the takings this summer have been excellent and I recently signed a new five-year deal for our shop.
I was sad to see our neighbours The Refillery close recently which has left a prime unit empty at the Waverley Bridge entrance. While the visitor footfall has returned after the pandemic there is no doubt that the city centre office worker numbers are still nowhere near what they used to be which affected them badly. Thankfully their other shops are still doing well. It is a great location and I will be surprised if the shop is still empty at Christmas.
What will be on the roof this Christmas I have no idea but certainly it will be far better to have something there than return to the daily antisocial behaviour that was so obvious as I waited for my bus each night. Waverley Market has a fantastic location but it is yet to reach its full potential given the footfall it has from Waverley Steps, Princes Street and Waverley Bridge.