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Edinburgh streetscape initiative gets underway with shop front revamp

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February 17 2015

Edinburgh streetscape initiative gets underway with shop front revamp
Edinburgh World Heritage has teamed up with the city council and shop owners to undertake a streetscape initiative on West Maitland Street, with work to refurbish up to 16 shop fronts beginning within a matter of weeks.

The move is the first phase of a longer term plan to restore visual coherence to the important tram route, returning some of its Georgian character whilst enhancing the environment of the New Town World Heritage site.

This will see traditional architectural elements, where they remain, restored together with new joinery, metalwork and painting to match what would have been found originally. Where shop fronts have been lost replicas will be built based on surviving designs.

Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: “The restoration of historic shop fronts is a prime example of how we can use the city’s heritage to support its businesses and improve the backdrop to people’s everyday lives.

“This sort of scheme is difficult to pull off, as there are so many different people involved, but it will have a lasting and positive impact for this wonderful street at the gateway to the World Heritage Site, with the fine Georgian terrace to the south and handsome Victorian terrace to the north.”

Work is expected to cost around £566k, $425k of which is being made available by EWHT in the form of a grant, repayable after 10 years or until the sale of the property. Completion of the work is expected by the end of 2016.

6 Comments

Auntie Nairn
#1 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 17 Feb 2015 at 13:36 PM
The problem is that restoration of the shopfronts doesn't support businesses. By enforcing a very narrow set of design guidelines, all of the retail units start to look the same and the principle shopping streets start to resemble a Georgian / Victorian theme park.
Fountainbridge
#2 Posted by Fountainbridge on 17 Feb 2015 at 16:07 PM
Hopefully they'll fix the pavements while there at it. Never been fixed since being damaged by the tram works.
Sven
#3 Posted by Sven on 17 Feb 2015 at 18:09 PM
"The problem is that restoration of the shopfronts doesn't support businesses."

True but the theory is the better looking and well looked after the street the more attractive it becomes and you get higher footfall.

"By enforcing a very narrow set of design guidelines, all of the retail units start to look the same and the principle shopping streets start to resemble a Georgian / Victorian theme park."

No, you have a unified vision and motif.
Euan
#4 Posted by Euan on 18 Feb 2015 at 11:42 AM
I wonder how the Multrees Walk retailers cope with their narrow set of design guidelines... a clingfilm modernist theme park.
Anna-Mary Jenkins
#5 Posted by Anna-Mary Jenkins on 18 Feb 2015 at 16:47 PM
I think she is very positive, a nice looking contextual street does support local businesses. Enhancing and protecting the heritage has proved to encourage more visitors (well said Sven). This is a good bit of research - http://www.hlf.org.uk/new-ideas-need-old-buildings - Just look at how successful the Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme has been - there isn't one I can think of that looks like a 'theme park' they just look like respected, well maintained and attractive conservation areas.
Edward McGurn
#6 Posted by Edward McGurn on 18 Feb 2015 at 21:45 PM
How I wish there was a scheme like this lined up for Argyle and Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, so badly needed!

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