Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Royal Mile: Experts and residents debate future

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Media captionThe future of Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile is under review after the city council says tourists should have a better visitor experience

A debate between 100 residents and experts on the future of Edinburgh Royal Mile has found a manager and a spring clean is needed for the street.

The also committed to put together a charter that will work to protect its heritage and to capitalise on tourism.

The historic street came under the spotlight at an event organised by Edinburgh City Council in a bid to "maximise its potential".

The debate looked at pedestrian experience and retail offering.

Tom Buchanan, Edinburgh City Council's convener of the economic development committee, said: "The Royal Mile is internationally renowned but we recognise that we need to work with local people on the day-to-day running of the street to ensure that it remains a must see destination, and a positive experience for visitors coming to Scotland, as well as meeting the needs of residents who use it every day."

Urban design

Experts at the workshop included Diarmaid Lawlor who is an experienced urbanist.

He has training in environmental management, landscape architecture and urban design, and practices across Ireland, the UK and Scotland.

James Rebanks, a cultural and heritage analyst, was a keynote speaker at the event.

He has particular expertise on the economics of world heritage sites, culture and creativity, green infrastructure and ecosystem services, and is part of Unesco's expert panel for sustainable tourism.

Marion Williams, director of Edinburgh heritage group the Cockburn Association, said the workshop had to lead to action.

She told BBC Scotland: "Something has to come out of this. The Royal Mile has a lot of issues. One of the main things has to be improving the pedestrian experience.

"That doesn't have to be full pedestrianisation, but there should be some control imposed over traffic movement in the future."

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