The Grassmarket Redevelopment Project has won the ‘Development on the Ground’ category at the Scottish Government Awards for Quality in Planning.

Judges said they were particularly impressed with the project’s interaction with a variety of stakeholders and the clear improvements achieved.

The primary aim of the works, which formed part of the ‘Capital Streets’ public realm improvement programme, was the redistribution of space from vehicles to pedestrians, allowing flexible use for events such as markets, film shows, dance events and concert performances.

The Grassmarket is the largest open space in Edinburgh’s Old Town and an important focal point to the south of the Royal Mile. Designer boutiques sit side by side with vintage second hand shops, and arts and crafts stores.

Council Leader, Cllr Jenny Dawe, said: “The Grassmarket project has brought a range of environmental and economic benefits to the area, accompanied by a much improved transport strategy. The pubs and cafes have embraced a more continental cafĂ© culture, complementing the eclectic range of shops and hotels, and contributing to the economic development of the area.

“The success of this project is a clear endorsement of the ambitious plans that we have for improving Edinburgh’s public spaces and encouraging people to make more and better use of them.”

The project incorporated a simple design using traditional natural materials, emphasising the historic enclosed form of the former medieval market place.