Thursday, 17 April 2014

On Essential Edinburgh Group.

  • The Essential Edinburgh Business Improvement District (BID) is the first of its kind in Edinburgh - a scheme started in 2008 when businesses voted 'overwhelmingly' in favour, according to one of the first Essential Edinburgh newsletters.
  • "The idea behind BIDs comes from the United States and were, in the words of one academic, set up to deal with, the "use of the space by impoverished casualties of the post-industrial economy," who were scaring away the gentrified shoppers.
    In fact, the push to cut down on these undesirable 'casualties' has led the city of Los Angeles to respond through "securitisation of the city centre through the building of heavily guarded private spaces and the elimination or privatisation of public spaces."
    This may sound typically 'American' - the rounding-up and expulsion of undesirables using private security - but when we look at London we find private police patrolling the Docklands and the City while a BID set up in the West End is said to have supported serving such people with ASBOs, just to keep them out.

    In fact the London West End BID is working to remove legal street traders and small businesses, whilst it supports an increase in the number of larger multiple stores"
  • Essential Edinburgh opposed Occupy Edinburgh and had them evicted. They are essentially a cabal of rich bastards who financially control edinburgh interests.
  • board of directors.
  • Essential Edinburgh is a BID Area which amounts to a private sector privatization of public services and public spaces.
  • Scottish people have been losing 'common good' land since 1491
    -"More recently, the public realm has been attacked by the creeping privatisation of what little remains of public space. In Edinburgh, from 1716 to 1808, the town council used the Common Good Fund to acquire all the land for the development of the New Town. The streets and many of the open spaces in this World Heritage site are thus the common property of the citizens of the city. In 2008, however, the City of Edinburgh council handed control of much of the central area for five years to a private consortium of businesses, Essential Edinburgh Ltd, as a Business Improvement District governed by Part 9 of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2006.
    Out of 15 directors of the company, only one is from the council, and he is an official, not an elected member. Apart from the chief superintendent of Lothian and Borders police, the remainder are private businesses including Harvey Nichols, RBS and Macdonald Hotels.
    The council is prohibited from having more than 20% of the membership to ensure that "the company shall not be under the control of the local authority" and the quorum for a directors meeting is a mere two.
    A prominent project of Essential Edinburgh has been the opening of St Andrew Square Garden to the public. While this is welcome, it is unclear why such a business consortium ever needed to be involved. The council leases St Andrew Square Gardens from the property owners in St Andrews Square for £1 per year and sub-leases the gardens to Essential Edinburgh for a further £1 per year. The gardens were renovated with £2.6m of public funding but the land remains outside the control of the council. This private company has adopted management rules that dictate what the public are allowed to do and when".
  • Photographers protest against private public space Photographers in flashmob protest at Edinburgh street
     "A flashmob of photographers descended on Multrees Walk today to protest against the treatment of Stefan Karpa, who was escorted off the exclusive shopping street by security guards last week.
    Karpa and around twenty photographers came to take snaps of the street, which is privately owned. "
  • "Essential Edinburgh manages and maintains St Andrew Square Garden. Permission is required from Essential Edinburgh to utilise the Garden for anything out with “normal” usage"
  • Occupy Edinburgh asks whether city centre management company has its priorities right
  • - the De Facto Ownership they claim of St Andrews Square.

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