Plans to transform West Princes Street Gardens receive public support

Visualisation by Greig Penny Architecture 2019

THE Quaich Project’s plans for West Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh have received public backing, a new report has revealed.

Results of a public consultation held throughout November show that of the 1,077 respondents, more than two thirds (68%) support the proposed changes.

The Quaich Project is a public-private partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and the Ross Development Trust, with plans including improved accessibility, ‘dynamic’ architectural designs and new facilities.

One aspect of the proposals is the introduction of a Welcome Centre, which will provide a central access point, new accessible toilets, café and lift access. 68% of respondents said they supported the plans for the Welcome Centre strongly or with some reservations.

The design proposals, developed by a team architects led by wHY and including Edinburgh-based Gras, also include a redevelopment of the Ross Bandstand and amphitheatre. 74% of respondents backed plans for a small number of major events being held in the gardens to subsidise community use of this.

Respondents had the chance to give their views on the designs, naming of facilities and possible activities for the gardens.

David Ellis, MD at The Quaich Project said, “The results of the public consultation on the designs have been incredibly encouraging. As the product of four years’ of engagement with stakeholders and the people of Edinburgh, the designs presented at the most recent public consultation will transform West Princes Street Gardens, making it more accessible, open and useful for all.

“We also asked people if they were in favour of a small number of major events facilitating smaller, community-focused events and it’s heartening to receive the backing of almost three quarters of respondents for this approach. Currently, the Ross Bandstand is outdated and inflexible and the plans we’re putting forward open up possibilities for a whole range of community groups and activities around the year.

“It’s also particularly positive to note that the young people we spoke to through the youth consultation echoed the position of older demographics that there is a need for a new Welcome Centre to improve accessibility and provide catering options.

“While the results of the consultation are positive, we appreciate that – as with any proposal of a similar scale – some people still have reservations. West Princes Street Gardens is a place for everyone to enjoy, so feedback from the public consultation will feed into the further development of plans.”

Feedback will now be considered before plans are refined and presented back to the public in Spring this year.