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December 2, 2009

New hope for Edinburgh’s Old Town

Development Trust offers hope to Old Town residents

Development Trust offers hope to Old Town residents
The newly established Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust which is also to cover the Dumbiedykes community, held its first public meeting on Thursday 26th November at Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge

The trust has been formed by members of the Save Our Old Town campaign, who fought long and hard against the controversial plans by Mountgrange to develop the Caltongate.

The meeting included discussion on the trusts possible projects and Ian Cooke, Director of The Development Trusts Association Scotland gave an introduction to the fast growing network of development trusts across Scotland, highlighting the real differences they are making to the communities in which they are based.

Sean Bradley, a director of the trust and Chair of the Grassmarket Residents’ Association said today  “A community’s greatest asset is its residents. The Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust is an historic opportunity for the people of the Old Town to shape its future for the benefit of all – that means improving opportunities and the quality of life for everyone”

Catriona Grant another local resident and fellow director adds  “Last year’s community research, The Canongate Project , showed that more support and facilities are needed for the residential population if a ‘living city’ is to be maintained in the Old Town. The research also highlighted the need for affordable housing, family sized homes, a better mix of local shops, community facilities, play space, public toilets, safe and usable green public space, along with residents having a say in future developments in the Old Town.”

Catriona ends “So we are urging those who live in the area and outwith to come along and become a member of the trust. Help shape the future projects and the role the trust can play in an area which is becoming increasingly dominated by tourism and the night-time economy often at the expense of those who call it home.

The trust is hoping to follow the success of similar organisations in England, which have transformed high-profile public spaces into thriving community areas.

Ideas include the possible creation of an indoor food market, similar to ones held in Barcelona London’s famous Borough market, which they say would be popular with tourists and would also provide a much-needed service for local residents.

They are also hoping to come up with plans to create affordable housing in the area, with the former NCP car park site one possible location.

And a Green Spaces Project inspired by the work of Patrick Geddes will aim to get everyone in the area working to create community gardens.