Pupils Present Research Findings to Waterfront

by Scott Douglas

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

A group of school pupils has carried out a consultation on behalf of regeneration agency Waterfront Edinburgh Ltd (WEL) identifying possible uses for commercial units in the region.

The six teenagers, from Edinburgh’s Broughton High School, found the community wanted an independent restaurant and bar for WEL’s Granton Harbour Road C development, as well as a hairdresser and beauty salon and a sports facility.

They established, in the research carried out as part of a volunteered school project, that over 70% of people surveyed would use the facilities.

The regeneration agency recently applied for outline planning permission for a 200-bedroom hotel at the site on West Shore Road, as well as a small provision of housing and commercial units. Business from the 9675 sq m hotel will directly feed into the three surrounding business units detailed in the application. Aside from breakfast, the hotel will not have dining, drinking or shop facilities and the commercial units will likely supply these to the hotel’s customers.

The research established that almost 30% of residents and 20% of workers preferred choice for retail provision was a hairdresser and beauty salon. For leisure facilities around 45% said this should take the form of a sports facility rather than a pool or a casino.

The vast majority of residents, 72%, said they would want a restaurant and bar to be run by an independent operator rather than a chain establishment. 

The team, lead by 17-year-old Project Coordinator Amanda Hatchivadi of Wardie, spent the week at WEL’s offices, organised through Mindshop Excellence Training and Scottish Business in the community.

The group was taught business consultancy skills and set the task of identifying the best use for the three units by conducting market research to discover what local residents, workers and potential visitors to the hotel would use. It then presented its finding to WEL management.

Jane Dennyson, Marketing and Communications Manager at WEL, said: “This project is a fantastic way for young people to be involved in the work we are doing in Granton and forms a part of our continued focus to form links with the local community and education groups.

“The group did a great job and we were delighted to host the project.

“They spent the week working as consultants and were treated as such. They showed great initiative, skill and maturity.

“The work they carried out is invaluable and we will certainly be incorporating their findings and suggestions when we are marketing the site to potential investors.”

Amanda and her classmates, Andrew Armes, David Eisner, David McLeod, Gary Stout and Nick Urquhart, sampled 43 members of the community. Workers from the nearby United Wire factory and Broomhill Industrial Park were asked to fill out questionnaires. The group also surveyed local residents including those living in the new-build properties on Waterfront Avenue and the traditional homes on Granton Park Avenue.

The six also contacted hotel managers and found out what their hotels provided for guests, the popularity of in-house and external services and their recommendations for surrounding business units. 

Andrew Millson, of Scottish Business in the Community, said: “WEL looks at regeneration in a refreshing way, by looking at the needs of the community.”

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