Comment: We must hope for a quick resolution to St James row

Picture: supplied
Picture: supplied
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THE St James Quarter redevelopment promises to be one of the best things to happen in Edinburgh for many years.

The hordes of shoppers heading along the M8 every Saturday tells you much of what you need to know about how Edinburgh has been left behind for too long as a shopping destination.

The £850 million investment in the east end of the city centre will transform what the Capital has to offer as a shopping centre. The new street layout will open up the area like never before, so you can wander through parades of traffic-free shops, restaurants and cafes. Big-name brands that have never before opened outlets in Scotland are expressing an interest in being a part of it.

To see all this being put at risk after the years it has taken to get to this point is very sad news indeed.

We know very little about Grosse Investments beyond the fact that they are an investment fund based in Jersey. They of course have to look after their investment and we cannot expect them to act necessarily in the best interests of Edinburgh.

Tough negotiations are part and parcel of any major project where millions of pounds are at stake. If this falls within that category of normal negotiation then we can hope that a deal will be struck before it reaches court.

The worry is that an outside investor like this will dig in and make unreasonable demands, effectively holding the entire development to ransom.

That would be wrong and we can only hope that any such action, should it arise, will be dealt with effectively by the court. After all, the purpose of compulsory purchase legislation is to stop this happening.

If the scheme stalls, it will be disappointing. If it were to stop altogether, it would be a disaster.

For now, the lawyers will do their work. We must all hold our breath and hope for a quick resolution so that building work can start soon.