Public asked for their views on top of Leith Walk development plans

The public have been asked to come forward with their suggestions for 'Picardy Place roundabout at the top of Leith Walk. Picture; Ian Georgeson
The public have been asked to come forward with their suggestions for 'Picardy Place roundabout at the top of Leith Walk. Picture; Ian Georgeson
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THE public are to be asked what should go on the island where the Picardy Place roundabout now sits.

Controversial proposals were unveiled last month for a new “gyratory” junction to replace the roundabout at the top of Leith Walk, involving three lanes of traffic on each side of a central triangle, as part of the St James Quarter development.

Critics said the proposal gave cars priority and claimed the layout belonged in the 1970s.

And council chiefs deferred discussion of the plans, scheduled for a transport and environment committee earlier this month, until December to allow further consultation.

Now the issue has been deferred again – until January – and the consultation has been extended to cover what should be done with the central island.

Originally the site was going to become a hotel but that was dropped.

A special meeting of the transport and environment committee will be held in 
January to discuss plans for the future design of Picardy Place.

The council said further engagement events and an opportunity to comment online would allow the public to give their views on the road layout and submit ideas about how the site where the roundabout currently sits could be used.

Claire Miller, Green councillor for City Centre ward, said: “While I would prefer to preserve our trees and expand the existing public space, if the design goes ahead I would really like to see a creative and interesting green space in the centre.

“We should think to the future and make sure it’s flexible enough so we can change and adapt to suit the city’s needs over the coming decades.”

Ian Mowat, chair of New Town and Broughton community council, said he would prefer the central island shrunk to allow more of the existing public space in front of St Mary’s RC Cathedral to be kept and the Paolozzi sculptures put back there.

“The community would like to see [the island as] public space, but maybe something useful – a cafe for cyclists might be possible,” he said.

Transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “The special meeting will give committee members the opportunity to fully discuss plans and to consider the range of feedback received.

“By deferring the Picardy Place design proposals until the New Year it will allow further public engagement on the transport layout.

“We want the public to have the opportunity to discuss the future use of the island site too.

“While we have already had extensive feedback on the proposals so far, these plans are fundamental to the regeneration of the east end of the city centre and, as such, it is essential we get this right.

“We need to find an optimal solution for all road users, be that pedestrians, cyclists, public transport customers, taxis and private car users. This is a key junction and it is important that the final design we agree on works in the context of the city centre as a whole.”