Leading urban planners Gehl Architects have warned Edinburgh council chiefs that drastic action is needed to transform the fortunes of Princes Street, after labelling the city centre shopping hub ‘a big bus station’
The Danish practice led by 74-year-old Jan Gehl (pictured) was hired by council and business leaders to examine ways of revitalising the area, allegedly for a fee of £25,000. The firm has previously been credited with turning Copenhagen into one of the world’s most pedestrian-friendly cities and has worked on a masterplan for Southampton with David Lock Associates.
Its proposals include measures to curb traffic congestion - there are an estimated 400 bus movements an hour on Princes Street - and boost business trade.
Gehl director David Sim told the Evening News there should be a ‘cultural change in how Princes Street is used, with pubs, cafés and restaurants opened up to give it life at night-time, temporary closures for special events and more cyclists instead of buses’.
Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said he agreed with some aspects of the report but insisted it was ‘unfair’ to label Princes Street a bus station.
He said: ‘They have to take into consideration that people have to get into their work and people need to get around.’