ST VINCENT’S CHAPEL
St Vincent Street, Edinburgh EH3 6SW Charity No: SC023274
CONSULTATION ON SUNDAY PARKING CHARGES – OUR SUBMISSION
Background: St Vincent’s congregation is based on a church building in St Vincent Street, and has been a gathering place of people for the last 160 years, providing a public benefit both to members of the church and to the local and wider community. At one point we ran a local ambulance service, and at present the building is widely used as a place for community and specialist use.
Ecclesiastical Use: About 55 people attend services, or church occasions, at the building during each week, but this rises at certain times of year; 250 people came to the building over Christmas; 150 at Easter, most of them from outwith the area. We are also a venue for weddings and funerals. In total this represents about 3,600 footfalls over the year.
Secular Use: The building is used for many community activities, both local and city wide, many of which are in the early evening or weekends. In total this represents about 5850 footfalls over the year. [see list below]
Current Parking availability: There are only four metred bays in the vicinity, and the nearest public car park is in Castle Terrace, a 25 minute walk away. All those attending any service on a Sunday, or other event after 5.30 pm, are therefore dependant on parking on single yellow lines. Some people already share space in their cars; there are very few Sunday buses, and they do not come very near the church.
Impact on us of the proposals:
Ecclesiastical Use:. 35% of those attending on a Sunday come by car. It is unlikely that most of these attendees would continue to support St Vincent’s on a regular basis, if at all, if the parking restrictions were brought in.
We would almost certainly loose the offices of our two organists, as one comes from Slateford and the other from Port Seton; if there was nowhere nearby available for them to park their car.
Secular Use: The impact of new parking restrictions would depend on the timing involved, but any performance or concert would probably no longer choose to use St Vincent’s, since there is no parking [meter or public] nearby.
Local Community: The impact on the wider community would be severe. Already more resident parking permits are sold than there are spaces provided. In practice this means that residents have to park on yellow lines, outwith the time restrictions that end at 5.30 pm.
The Sunday Stockbridge Market would not be able to continue if the stall holders could not park on yellow lines; and, in any case, far fewer people would come in to Stockbridge to shop if they were dependant on metred parking. There is no public car park.
Canon Allan Maclean Rector, St Vincent’s Chapel
Secular and other Use of St Vincent’s
Performances: In the last year, we have hosted 9 performances, as well as 6 Fringe events during the Festival. The performances were attended in total by 800 people, and the Fringe events by 450 people.
Rehearsal Venue: We provide rehearsal premises for 4 groups [The Bohemians Lyric Opera Co; Hebrides Ensemble; the Dunedin Concert and the Edinburgh Quartet]. Over the year there were 1,670 footfalls to the premises.
Teaching Venue: We provide teaching premises for 4 different people, and in the last year there were 482 footfalls.
Toddler Groups: We provide premises for a kindergarten [Moo Music], which over the year have been attended by about 832 footfalls of children and 140 of adults
Community Groups: We provide premises for committee meetings for local groups, including a local Resident’s Group and the Warriston Cemetery Committee.
Visitors: We have a policy, when possible, of keeping the building open for general visitors and tourists. In particular we were open for ‘Doors Open Day’ in September, and visited by 821 people.
Ecumenical: Our building is used on a regular basis by the Stockbridge ‘Bridge Church’ [Assemblies of God] both for their Community Support Group, and for services, including funerals. The building is also used by the Diocese, the nearby Episcopal churches, the interdenominational Comely Bank and Stockbridge Churches Together, and a Scotland-wide grouping.