While Edinburgh collectively takes stock/girds loins/throws hands up in despair over the future of Picardy Place, here is a little planning problem you can help resolve today.

London-based City Centre Posters has applied for permission to erect a temporary (5-year) non-illuminated ‘self-standing advertising structure’ just outside the north-east corner of St Andrew Square Gardens (Ref. 14/05097/ADV). 

This would comprise ‘rectangular hollow structural sections and square hollow structural section’, clad in 1.2mm ‘Zintec’ steel riveted to uprights. The proposed drum measures 1320mm in diameter and 2600mm in height.

In Spurtle’s opinion, it would, once covered in peeling advertisements for stand-up comedians, resemble a burly 8’ 6” matelot covered in tattoos.

Alternatively, if the artist impressions here are reliable, it might be the kind of structure likely to provoke wandering French bohemians to pick a fight with it. Perhaps because they’d mistake it for a Parisian pissoir (top right) with no door, perhaps because they’d disdain design options for crowning the drum with laughable architectural references to: the roof of Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall; the Bank of Scotland HQ; the shaggier parts of Arthur’s Seat; tartan; the Forth Rail Bridge; St Giles Cathedral; or Salisbury Crags.

Inexplicably, the brochure in which these Edinburgh-specific options are illustrated, is entitled ‘Build Hollywood’.

You may already have guessed that Spurtle thinks self-serving development of this kind and quality has no place in one of the most visually sensitive parts of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

Spurtle also thinks that obstructive street clutter has no place on such a busy footway.

So, let's hope that in rejecting permission, officials will cite similar criteria to those they applied when JCDecaux sought to beautify St Andrew Square's tramstop back in December 2016. In short, incompatibility with:

Regulation 4 (1) of the Town & Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 1984 (as amended), or the Council's guidance on Advertisements, Sponsorship and City Dressing, as it will have an unacceptable detrimental impact on the amenity of the location, in respect of the harm it would do to the historic environment, architectural and cultural interest of this part of the city being in the New Town Conservation Area, Old and New Towns World Heritage Site, and due to the proximity to a number of a listed buildings.

Anyone wishing to comment on the application has UNTIL TOMORROW to do so here

[Image top-right: Wikimedia, Creative Commons.]

St Andrew Square