ACAMPAIGN against the GBP5m revamp of a historic street gathered momentum when residents held a public meeting to outline their concerns at the project.

Edinburgh City Council plans for the Grassmarket include new lighting, cobblestones and an open space for pavement cafes. But residents say the proposals will destroy the character of the area and encourage antisocial behaviour. They have also complained that the plans would mean losing dozens of parking spaces.

Bill Cowan, who runs the Costume Ha Ha store there and is also on the Old Town Association and the Old Town Community Council, said residents and businesses were angry their concerns were ignored during consultation.

He said last night: "There are various concerns, including parking restrictions and the cutting down of some of the trees, and also that people's concerns about the style of the improvements don't seem to have been acknowledged."

Sarah Boyack, Edinburgh MSP, also raised concerns. She said: "People are not against there being a withdrawal of some parking spaces, but the general consensus is that there are far too many being lost.

"The key thing is local people feel that, although they turned up to a lot of the consultations, they don't feel their views have been taken on board."

Ewan Aitken, council leader, said: "It's simply not true to say that the consultation 'ignored local opinion' as the proposals started from an intense weekend workshop with the local community and a number of alterations were made to the scheme through the succeeding consultation process, involving several public meetings and meetings with the local traders."