Responding to news that twenty police boxes in the city have been put on sale, Edinburgh Greens have urged Lothian and Borders Police to consider renting rather than selling the police boxes owned by the force, with priority given to young entrepreneurs unable to afford the start up costs of renting space in the capital.
A recent freedom of information request by the Greens found that maintaining the under-used boxes found on street corners costs the force over £8000 a year, but rather than selling them off the party argues that the boxes should be retained and rented out at low rents to small enterprises. With the festival season approaching, now would be the ideal time for a trial of this approach.
“Edinburgh’s police boxes are a great feature on our street corners, but many are looking unloved and under-used. There are plenty of empty retail units around town but start-up costs and rents are too high for most young people looking to get going with new ideas that they have.
“I’m concerned that the reported plan could see some boxes removedaltogether, and I’d much rather see a scheme where they are done up and rented out to young entrepreneurs.
“I know there are coffee boxes already, but I’d like to see what other creative things these mini-spaces could be used for. If elected, I pledge to work quickly with LBP and the Council to see if these assets could be kept in public hands and put to use as soon as possible.”
1. A Freedom of Information request found that LBP own 42 police boxes . The combined costs for cleaning, repairs and maintenance is put at £8477 per annum. A copy is available on request