Cliff has operated as a freelance consultant since 2004. He does research, authors reports and is a facilitator and trainer. While at Heriot-Watt University he was also involved in contract research.

He has worked on numerous projects:

  • With Spatial Foresight GmbH ( ) to deliver research-based reports for the ESPON Co-ordination Unit on European territorial development and policy.
  • With the Royal Town Planning Institute ( to deliver the UK National Contact Point for the ESPON 2013 programme. 
  • As an external expert for the Royal Town Planning Institute on transnational projects within the ESPON 2013 programme.
  • For the ESPON 2013 Co-ordination Unit as a peer reviewer on Sounding Boards for research projects.
  • On European Union INTERREG projects.
  • On other European projects.
  • On Commonwealth, international and global projects.
  • On UK projects.  
Tuesday, 07 January 2020 12:05

Growth and the commercialisation of public space in Edinburgh

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The London-based event organisers Underbelly have a contract with Edinburgh's city council who are paying them a reported £800,000 to stage a Christmas Market and a series of events around the celebration of New Year, "Edinburgh Hogmanay". Construction work began in mid-October, decking over the main public park in the centre of the city. The scale of the development should have required a 12 week public consultation followed by a formal planning application, but the consultation did not begin until AFTER the development went ahead, and only then because the Cockburn Association (of which I am the Chairperson) exposed the lack of planning permission.

Behind this scandal lie a wider set of questions about the costs and benefits of a mindset amongst local and national politiicans and council officials that has prioritised economic growth over urban conservation and an inclusive city. I have explored these issues in a series of articles in The Scotsman, the morning newspaper in this part of the world. The extent and drivers of the growth 2009-2019 are discussed if you click on this link. To see my speculations on what might happen 2020-2030 click here.  For my article on the unauthorised development that was ignored by the planners click here.

Read 2336 times Last modified on Tuesday, 07 January 2020 12:58

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