Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 00:27 UK

Victorian steps could be revamped

The Scotsman Steps
The Scotsman Steps run between Market Street and North Bridge

A plan to refurbish a rundown Victorian stone-built staircase in Edinburgh city centre is to be considered.

The Scotsman Steps, which run from North Bridge to Market Street, could be given a 125,000 upgrade.

Built in 1899 in a French style with an enclosed octagonal spiral stair and glazed tiles in the interior, the steps have been vandalised.

A report is to be considered by the city's transport and infrastructure and environment committee on Tuesday.

Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council's environment leader, said: "The Scotsman steps are a part of Edinburgh's rich architectural history.

"A successful solution is long overdue and we need to work closely with partners to achieve one. I look forward to seeing the architect's plans."

First impressions

David McDonald, Edinburgh World Heritage project manager, said: "I think it's fair to say that a lot of people avoid using the Scotsman Steps because of the perceived safety, lighting, and litter problems.

"If they were in better condition then more people would use them, which in turn would add a self-policing element to the space.

"The Scotsman Steps are a great shortcut for locals and also shape many visitors first impressions of the city.

"Their current condition lets the city down, and it would be great to see them restored."

Once an assessment has been carried out a management plan will be drawn up to address operational issues with stakeholders such as the council, Edinburgh World Heritage and the Scotsman Hotel.

The scope of the agreement would include reinstatement of appropriate gates, opening hours, cleaning, maintenance, policing and control of anti-social behaviour.


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