Traders and residents get say on Royal Mile’s future

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A CONFERENCE to shape the future of the Royal Mile will be held today in a bid to preserve its international reputation.

The council-run event comes amid an outcry from businesses over huge rent increases, with some traders claiming the local authority has hiked their annual tariffs by up to 88 per cent.

Against a pattern of soaring rent prices, which has forced the closure of at least two independent retailers in the last fortnight, concerns have been raised that the famous street could soon become even more populated with so-called “tartan tat” shops.

Today, around 100 residents and business owners are due to meet with council staff at The Hub, on Castlehill, to identify areas for improvement. It will scrutinise pedestrian experience, retail options and management of the street.

An action plan will then be drawn up based on outcomes from the discussions.

Councillor Tom Buchanan, convener of the economic development committee, said: “The Royal Mile is internationally renowned, but we recognise we need to work with local people on the day-to-day running of the street to ensure it remains a must-see destination, and a positive experience for visitors coming to Scotland, as well as meeting the needs of residents who use it every day.”

Urbanist Diarmaid Laidlaw will chair the event, with James Rebanks, who sits on Unesco’s Sustainable Tourism panel, a keynote speaker.

Comment – Page 16 Mile-high rises will drive us out – Pages 26-27