BUSINESSES in the West End have launched a “deep clean” of the area after complaints about the grimy state of the streets.
A special cleaning squad has been hired to blitz the pavements with high-pressure water equipment and target chewing gum and litter.
The month-long clean-up is being financed by the levy paid by the 155 firms which make up the West End’s Business Improvement District (BID).
And the BID took a swipe at the council as it announced details of the initiative.
BID chair Gail Niven said: “Our levy payers, visitors and local residents frequently comment on the weeds, litter, chewing gum and general griminess of certain parts of the West End.
“We understand that the city council’s street cleaning resources are limited, but this does mean the West End falls short of the standards expected by both our levy payers and visitors to such an historical and attractive part of our city.
“To overcome this obstacle, Edinburgh’s West End BID has decided to invest in cleaning the area ourselves.
“This is the first stage in our plans to make the West End a place to wander and explore and, ultimately, make the area a thriving community again.”
The exercise is due to be completed by the end of April.
Karen Green, of Headline hairdressers in Shandwick Place, welcomed the deep clean, saying the street was “grimier” now than at any time in the 40 years they had been trading in the area.
She said: “There is rubbish strewn across the street, people dropping things even though there are lots of litter bins. It’s not good for trade. Since the BID has been going we have been asking for this.
“They said it’s the council’s responsibility but I suspect there have been so many complaints they decided to take action.”
City environment leader Lesley Hinds said great strides had been made in discouraging litter-dropping and new trade waste collection “windows” had reduced the number of unsightly bins on the streets.
“Other measures were under way, including a review of street cleansing resources, increased litter bin sizes and trialling bin sensors to maximise collections.
Cllr Hinds said: “It’s great to see a group of businesses taking a traditional, hands-on approach to clearing their frontages and streets.
“Busy streets do see an impact of littering and a build up of grime over time.
“I’m pleased that the West End BID members are taking pride in their local surroundings, an attitude we would like to encourage amongst everyone who lives, works in and visits Edinburgh.”