Saturday, 6 February 2010

Empty shops in Clerk Street

A constituent's enquiry led me to a spot of analysis of Clerk Street, part of the Newington Road/Nicolson Street corridor. The route is recognised as in need of something to restore the area's vitality. Certainly it is a densely populated area but the shopping experience and appearance lacks dynamism.

So today I did a count of the premises in Clerk Street and noted that of the total of 50 there are 8 (16%) which are not in use. That raises the question of whether the wide range of controls and conditions on proprietors are restrictions too far.

It was a long and laborious procedure to unravel the wholly inappropriate rules which meant that new coffee shops were not allowed to open beyond 8pm. Coffee shops have become hugely popular and the council rules were restricting them.

And amongst the unoccupied premises is the former Odeon Cinema. That we are still waiting for a decision from the Scottish Government on whether the planning approval for the latest approval for the project is to be overturned is astonishing. Whatever view is held about the current proposal, the delay in taking the decision is a scandal. And planning blight.

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