Thursday, 28 May 2009

Old Town is becoming a ghost town

Oh dear, the Evening News has been counting the empty shops and cafes in the Old Town and according to them there are 29 empty ones, you can read about it here

The problem of course is the economic times but also the high rents and rates that are charged in the Old Town but also the constant upheaval of roads, streets and pavements. The high rents and rates and the indigenious population being displaced by the holiday makers who take up reisence at the weekend and during the summer ensured the closure of the shops communities need. Many years ago there was once a shop where you could buy coldmeat and a bag of coal - of course times change and perhaps chopped pork and coal are not the call of the day but it would be nice to buy some fresh fish or a packet of tea bags.

Local traders are telling the Republic that they are really struggling, they enjoy the buzz of the Old Town but cannot afford the high rents and rates, the council being one of the landlords that are squeezing the pips until they squeek.

It's funny though because the council appeared to believe that the Canongate was a great place for luxury retail in the now beleagered and washed out Caltongate. The citizens of the Canongate more than once pointed out that the retail need to be in Princes Street not being taken away from it.

But the other issue is how do we attract shops back to the Old Town? There are few shops that sell food - we have lost our co-op, fishmonger, butcher, baker, greengrocer and even our sweetie shop and that is in the Canongate alone.

Let's see what happens - will more businesses close down, will the Old Town become a ghost town?