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Improving the public realm

Public funding is available through our Conservation Funding Programme for the conservation of buildings and public spaces in and around the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, helping retain the authenticity and integrity of our remarkable historic city.

What is a project-funding grant?

This is an interest-free grant for projects that support the public realm or for eligible properties owned by institutions / charities. This grant is not repaid to us unless you sell or transfer your property within 24 months. It can be used as match funding for larger projects, or as funding in its own right (please check eligibility on page 4 of our Guidance Notes).

We can usually fund up to 20% to 40% of eligible works.

For private owners and commercial buildings, please refer to our grants page.

What elements of public space are funded?

  • Conserving, restoring or enhancing monuments and statues
  • Creating and enhancing green spaces
  • Lighting schemes
  • Repairing boundary walls, steps, burial enclosures or historic ironwork
  • Stonework (e.g. repointing, repair and paint removal with approved methods)
  • Roof (e.g. leadwork, slatework, joinery, flashings and chimneys)
  • Limework (e.g. lime pointing, lime wash and lime harling)
  • Restoration/reinstatement of missing original architectural details
  • Repair of original windows including reinstatement of original pattern
  • Railings, steps and other features may be included as part of larger works
  • We may also fund the development of strategies for the management and maintenance of the historic public realm

Take a look at our project portfolio to read more on our grant-funded work

Our criteria

  • Urgency / threat – We’ll consider the condition of the property, its deterioration, and impact of carrying out the works
  • Project impact – We want projects that maximise opportunities for a positive, comprehensive improvement
  • Security of investment – We prioritise long-term maintenance of buildings and minimal negative changes
  • Need of investment – Projects in or adjacent to the World Heritage Site with the greatest need of investment will be prioritised
  • Ability to proceed – We’ll favour projects with no significant obstacles to proceeding in the time periods set by our funders

What we DON’T fund

  • routine maintenance and minor repairs
  • alterations and private interior work
  • demolitions
  • upgrading of services
  • underground drainage
  • stone cleaning