Meadows campaigners call for 15-day limit on events

The Ladyboys of Bangkok are one of the most popualr acts on the Fringe. Picture: Lesley Martin
The Ladyboys of Bangkok are one of the most popualr acts on the Fringe. Picture: Lesley Martin
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Major events lasting more than a fortnight should be banned from the Meadows, campaigners have claimed, in a bid to protect the area from long-term damage.

Locals have long held concerns that the 25-acre parkland is over-used for large-scale tented activities and shows, particularly during the festival.

And despite several events – including the Foodies Festival and Moonwalk – being relocated to Inverleith Park in recent years, the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links (FOMBL) believes more needs to be done.

Later this month, the campaign group’s convener, Heather Goodare, will make a deputation to the council about the issue – and she hopes that a recently-launched petition will strengthen the case.

So far around 300 people have signed the petitions, which calls on the council to put a ban on events in the Meadows which last more than 15 days. Mrs Goodare said she hoped her presentation to the August 26 transport and environment committee would have an impact.

The council is currently finalising a review into its policy on events in parks across the Capital, with the results of a large public consultation set to help create a guide to events for each city park aimed at ensuring “a balance of use”.

The call comes as the Meadows once again plays host to the vast performance tent of the Ladyboys of Bangkok, one of the most popular acts on the fringe over the last decade.

And Mrs Goodare stressed that the group – which has also campaigned for tougher rules on barbecuing in the green space – was not against big shows performing, but wanted to safeguard the Meadows for “future generations”.

The 15-day limit would be in line with other parks, and would avoid serious damage to the grass, with longer events moved to hard standing sites in other parts of the city.

And they plan to urge councillors to take a harder line on commerical charges by upping the rent for companies to use the space, and using the extra revenue to extend the park ranger’s hours during the busy summer months.

Mrs Goodare said: “This is a very important thing for the Meadows. We just want to be treated the same as all the other Edinburgh parks. Time after time, the ground gets badly damaged. The council has only just spent £100,000 on drainage this year. It’s a bit pointless spending all that money for the ground to then be damaged.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We have concluded a public consultation exercise, in order to determine whether any changes to the parks events manifesto are required and what, if any, improvements should be made. This takes account of over 600 responses and a report on this is likely to be considered by councillors in the near future.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com