Managing the success of the Prom

A Lively Prom That Works For All

(How do we manage the ‘success’ of the Prom?)

WHAT IS?

17 participants – some of whom live in or in close proximity to the prom, others who use (walk, swim, cycle, walk dogs, etc) and value having access to the prom and the beach. Everyone recognised that the prom and beach are huge assets to both local residents and the wider Edinburgh community (and visitors from further afield).

Positives:

It’s free!       Sporty /healthy / wellbeing!        Sense of community!      Access to nature / views!

Range of activity taking place!      Community events!       Meeting people!     Cafes, food and drink!

Inter-generational space!    Play / meeting space for young people!    Access to food and drink!

Community action (litter pick-ups etc)!

It was recognised that some of the positive qualities of the prom and beach may also have some negative aspects, and that what may be a positive aspect to some people, can be a negative aspect to others (eg. cycling)

Negatives: 

  • Global issues – impact of rising sea levels
  • Infrastructure issues – litter bins, play park (tower bank), disabled access, toilets*, lighting, café seating, impact of future Seafield development, lack of dry changing facilities / access to fresh water, quality of sea water, parking, 
  • Conflict of uses (or perceived conflict of uses!) – exacerbated by bottlenecks / pinch-points on prom 
  • Behavioural issues, lack of respect (from public bodies – water quality, emptying bins, etc – as well as general public), litter, fires, some cyclists, some dog-owners, occasional disturbances. 

WHAT IF

Some of the issues were them grouped together under 3 broader headings (although there is a degree of overlap), and those present then discussed how some of these issues could be addressed. The collective output from these discussions is noted below and should be seen as suggestions to explore, rather than definitive solutions.

Reducing conflict between users

  • Better demarcation of space
  • Measures to nudge cultural change
  • Improved signage (but crucially not too much signage) / more creative signage?
  • Board walk on beach next to prom 
  • Widening of prom at pressure points
  • Measures to reduce level of cycling – safer High Street, alternative cycle route, etc
  • Speed bumps at specific places (bottom of streets coming on to prom)
  • Designated dog using space or dog free spaces
  • Should dog leads be compulsory?

Lack of respect / behavioural change

  • Probably not as bad as people think, but specific problems
  • Increase sense of ownership / education! (good example of involving young people in boat club)
  • Giving cafes ‘extended responsibility’
  • Graffiti zones?
  • Encourage litter removal – use of ‘manky strip’
  • Work with food and drink outlets to reduce waste
  • Opportunities to recycle litter
  • Positive sharing
  • Occasional incidences of young people fighting. Could be predicted? Late response? But in general not keen to see increased level of policing.
  • Build on current heritage offering

Encroachment on Public Space

  • Conflict over space exacerbated by bottle-necks
  • Short term measures – cyclists dismount, dogs on short leases, etc
  • Dedicated spaces for individual / private activity (BBQs, fires, etc)
  • Café seating on sand
  • Active management
  • Wider and more pro-active vision (as opposed to piecemeal development).
  • Draw from best international examples (eg France) – modern piers
  • Use of design to encourage positive behaviour 
  • Encourage empathy for other users
  • Dog-free areas
  • Creative solutions and approaches vital (eg CEC / CC discussion on future of Pipe Lane toilets)

WHAT NEXT?

It was recognised that addressing these issues and building on the success of the prom is not solely a council problem – although they are the key stakeholder – but requires a collective response. Various council departments have roles in the management and development of the prom and beach, but there appears to be a lack of overall responsibility. It was also noted that within the community, various local organisations are involved in different aspects of the prom and beach – community council, Friends of Porty Prom, Keep Porty Tidy, etc.

Given that there are a number of different stakeholders (public bodies, commercial interests, community organisations and wider public) is there the need for a space where these (or some of these stakeholders) can come together. There is clearly a collective interest in addressing some of these issues and it should not be too difficult to arrive at a common set of aims and actions. 

It was felt that the prom / beach suffers from a lack of a coherent design, and would benefit from having clearer management (who has overall responsibility?). Many local people see the prom and beach as the major local asset, and there is considerably interest in ensuring that it continues to be used, managed and developed successfully. Developing a vision and plan for the prom and beach may well provide a useful framework for this. 

It was agreed that the notes for the meeting would be developed as a short discussion paper, and a meeting inviting some of the key stakeholders would be organised to discuss the paper. 

* Too few toilets leading to people urinating in streets off prom and residents gardens