28 February 2006

Princes Street is Dead, Killed by Edinburgh Council

I was walking along Princes Street this other evening (to the pub admittedly) and it really hit me what a disgrace it has become. Edinburgh Council shoulder all the blame for poor marketing, red tape, no incentives and letting shops sit empty for months, almost years. Five major shops are currently empty with big "To Let" signs protruding out into a supposedly protected street. Ann Summers and Sainsbury's amongst others have been in trouble for the signs they erected and have had to have the replaced. The massive Burger King right opposite the Castle has now been empty for a year, only temporarily inhabited by a cheesy "Scottish shop" selling rugby union shirts and cheap kilts. Princes Street road is now just a four lane bus road, destroying the beauty and tranquillity of the Gardens and the spectre of the Castle. After 4pm it does change though, then it's just a single lane of stationary buses east bound, all with their engines on polluting the area and blackening the shop fronts. The final insult is that the old American Express shop at the pride and joy West End was finally filled after nearly two years with an amusement arcade, metres from another one *and* a strip bar *and* a real casino! While the council did do a little (but not enough) to try to stop them, they've done sweet fa to stop them blocking street signs and making the West End look even tackier (if that were possible). Just like the once great Hogmanay Street Party, Edinburgh Council has used its cancerous powers to humiliate another great Edinburgh landmark into a laughing stock. At the same time as killing off Princes Street, they also want to kill off local traders, telling this corner shop at the West End who have fresh fruit and veg outside that it's illegal and it has to go (though gambling in slot machines is fine). At least they are using my council tax money for something...  In other building related news I wonder how many people walked straight passed this office on Melville Street and never noticed anything unusal?