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A series of gap sites across the Edinburgh where development has stalled because of the economic slump are to be turned into public parks and gardens. Under the proposals, gap sites could be turned into greenspace or "mini allotments" until developers are ready to press ahead with their plans. Among the first to benefit from the scheme are a series of sites at the waterfront. The project, which is joint-funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust (ELGT), is designed to improve the sense of pride that people feel in their local community.

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city's economic development leader, said: "We have learned that people respect something if it looks maintained, whereas if you drive past a gap site people will think 'this is a good place to dump litter'. This is an attempt to address that and to provide open space. Each site will be unique, so what we do will depend on where the opportunities lie. If a developer is coming back within five years to build housing we will not be out planting trees or putting in something with a life of 25 years."