Euan McGrory: Council must listen on pedestrian plans

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CHANGE can be slow coming in Edinburgh. That is both one of the city’s strengths and one of its weaknesses.

Things tend to happen faster in Glasgow where planning permission for a major development, for instance, can take weeks rather than the years it so often does in the Capital. Great efforts are being made to change that so that more big names stores, to take one example, will choose to come here rather than somewhere that getting the necessary permissions is easier.

For the kind of dynamic people who want to get things done, such as dynamic business people and politicians looking to make their mark, this slow pace can be frustrating. This sometimes plodding pace, however, can on occasion be a God-send. If the Capital had not been so cautious in the past, we would now have a motorway cutting a swathe through the Old Town in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat. Thankfully those disastrous 1960s plans were thrown out.

Today the brake which Edinburgh naturally applies to radical ideas should serve us well as the city considers plans for radical pedestrianisation. We all want a safer, cleaner city, but we know how easy it is to get transport changes in the Capital wrong. The council has promised consultation on its plans - and that needs to be genuine consultation. The time has arrived for a lot of long, hard listening.