Edinburgh’s George Street and First New Town project progresses

EDINBURGH City Council has announced ‘core elements’ of a final concept design for transforming the capital’s George Street and First New Town (GNT) have been published, along with an updated future operational plan.

A final concept design was unveiled in February ahead of a public engagement exercise, which revealed ‘broad support’ for the plans. The council revealed that work with groups including Edinburgh Word Heritage, Essential Edinburgh, Living Streets, George Street Association and Spokes – as well as consultation with the wider public – has helped inform core elements and design principles to underpin final plans.

These include wider pavements on both sides of George Street, ‘greening’ and landscaping sensitive to the area’s heritage and the creation of a ‘cycling street’. ‘Fundamental’ design elements also include the removal of buses and other non-essential traffic from George Street, and a reduction in parking bays to free up space for walking, cycling and wheeling.

The council added that a series of proposed operational changes will form the basis of the development of the statutory notice process required to enable construction of the scheme. There will be further development of the operational plan during the next design stage of the project, beginning in September.

During the next design stage for GNT, the local authority revealed it is expected that ‘sufficient detail’ will emerge from the design process to allow the start of the necessary statutory consents by the end of the year. The project is being supported by funding of up to £20 million secured from the Sustrans Places for Everyone programme, with all design costs and 70% of construction costs covered by the grant award.