Statement on Edinburgh Council’s ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2020/2021’

From the introduction:

 Overall, we support the direction of travel away from the arrangements that caused so much damage to East Princes Street Gardens and distress to residents in 2019/20. We remain of the view that the gardens are not appropriate for the Ferris Wheel, Star Flyer and market stalls, next to the Scott Monument. 

We recognise that the serious impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of public health and economic uncertainty mean that the Council needs to be extra cautious and fully transparent in considering how the city chooses to celebrate Christmas and Hogmanay this winter safely. Recent experience from Scotland and elsewhere strongly associates the transmission of Covid-19 with food and drink establishments and it is not clear from the report, how this will be managed especially given that this has been a major element of past offerings by the Christmas market. 

We offer a short analysis and some propositions for consideration by the Committee. 

Joint Statement: ‘The Quaich Project and West Princes Street Gardens’

Agreed by The Cockburn Association, New Town & Broughton Community Council, Old Town Community Council, West End Community Council and Tollcross Community Council.

(Click here to see the original PDF.)

logos for Cockburn Association, New Town & Broughton Community Council, Old Town Community Council, West End Community Council and Tollcross Community Council

11 December 2019 


West Princes Street Gardens is a much-loved green space, located in the centre of Edinburgh, at the foot of the castle. For residents and visitors, it is an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the midst of the busy city. Well-wooded with a fine tree canopy and extensive flower beds, it is beautifully maintained by council gardeners. Three war memorials and a series of other monuments and statues testify to its importance in the history of the city.

Position Statement 

The Cockburn Association and the four Community Councils support the improvement of specific park facilities — notably the replacement of the Ross Bandstand, removal of the concrete amphitheatre and better access for all — in keeping with the use of the gardens as a quiet space for enjoyment and relaxation, and in scale with the layout of the site. We do not support the transformation of the park into a commercial entertainment venue, involving access restriction and noise pollution disturbance.

In our view, the greenest buildings are the ones that are already built. Therefore, our support for a replacement is, predicated on the need to justify the proposed demolition of the existing Ross bandstand with a clear analysis of refurbishment/improvement options. From our understanding, this has been dismissed outright based on little more than anecdotal evidence and with no cost appraisal for a conservation-led approach to improving the facilities.

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