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Plans unveiled to 'put pizzazz' back into Tollcross

Ambitious plans to "put the pizzazz" back into run-down Tollcross into a hub for shopping, dining and culture have been revealed.

A blueprint outlining the area's potential to become a thriving "town centre", competing against city centre shops and attracting tourists, has been outlined in a study commissioned by the city council.

In its heyday in the 1960s and 70s, Tollcross was one of Edinburgh's most vibrant areas, but in recent years it has become run-down.

It is hoped, however, that the new plans outlined in the Tollcross Viability and Improvement Study by independent consultants Ironside Farrar will revitalise the once-thriving area.

The study highlights a number of problems which have led to the decline of Tollcross and have turned shoppers away.

Its negative image, lack of short-stay parking and poor pedestrian safety caused by high levels of traffic and narrow pavements are all cited among its main sticking points.

Improvements like increasing the width of pavements and pedestrian crossings on busy streets such as Home Street, Brougham Street and Lauriston Place will bring more people into Tollcross, Ironside Farrar states.

The consultants have also urged the council to bring in more short-stay parking spaces as soon as possible to encourage people to "stop and shop" in the area.

The plans have been welcomed by local community leaders, although they say they have been campaigning for these improvements for years and hope the study will not turn out to be a white elephant.

Tollcross councillor Chris Wigglesworth backed the reports, saying: "This is the right time for the council to build on everything that's happening round here and move things up a gear."

Tollcross Community Council chairman David Rintoul said: "When the council said it was going to do this report, there was a lot of enthusiasm.

"We need to get the pizzazz back into Tollcross."

A spokeswoman for the city council said: "Tollcross is one of nine 'town centres' outwith the city centre in which the council is committed to encouraging enhancement and revitalisation, with a key objective being to sustain their vitality and viability."

Source: Gemma Fraser, Evening News, 21st February, 2007


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