Leaders: ‘It seems the east is now the place to be’

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The plans to revive the forgotten townhouses in Baxter’s Place into a four-star hotel add to a growing feeling that east is now the place to be.

With the redevelopment of the St James Centre still in the pipeline and the tram, hopefully, stopping at York Place by next year, coupled with well-established facilities like the Omni and the Glasshouse Hotel, it is easy to feel a sense of optimism about the east end.

And that’s before you take account of the development across from the Balmoral on Princes Street including the much anticipated new Apple store.

Compare that to the west end which has continued to take the brunt of the tram-related chaos with businesses shutting up shop.

Only last month we reported on the demise of Au Bar on Shandwick Place which closed like many others blaming the on-off disruption of the last four years.

At one point, the Evening News revealed how three stores within 50ft of each other on William Street all closed after a huge drop in footfall. Traders told us the works had transformed the West End into a “ghost town”. The east, of course, has not been immune – a fact of which Leith Walk traders will need no reminding.

When the tram is completed and the redevelopment of Haymarket Station is unveiled then some parity will no doubt be restored in the city centre.

Those out west, however, may find they have a job on their hands to up their game to stem the flood.

As we see with developments like Baxter’s Place, the east is fast becoming the new west end.

Deserved recognition

In today’s News (pages 14,15) we reveal some of the men and women from the Lothians who have been shortlisted for the YouthLink Scotland awards, which celebrate outstanding achievement among those who work daily to change young 
people’s lives.

The hand of friendship, the voice of experience and the valuable information that these people impart, can be instrumental in turning around the lives of youngsters.

Among those in line for an award is Hayley Dunn, 26, who says: “I never feel what I do is work.”

In an era when many people are attracted only by money and prestige the work of Hayley and others is even more valuable.

We salute all on those on the shortlist and wish them well for the award final on 14 March.