‘Cheap and nasty Edinburgh doesn’t deserve Fringe’

James Naughtie. Picture: comp
James Naughtie. Picture: comp
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A LEADING broadcaster has launched a brutal attack on Edinburgh’s city centre, branding it “cheap and nasty” and describing the beleagured tram network as “the most embarrassing public transport project in Europe”.

Radio 4’s James Naughtie, who presents the station’s flagship Today programme, said the city barely deserves its “wondrous” Festival and poured scorn on the Capital’s most famous throughfare.

The 62-year-old said: “Historically-minded visitors will gaze along Princes Street trying to remember when it had some style and a little grace. That was long ago, before its facade was ripped apart and reassembled in a jumble of cheap and mostly nasty shopfronts unworthy of their place at the heart of one of Europe’s greatest cities.”

Mr Naughtie, who divides his time between London and Edinburgh, also criticised Waverley station, saying it was subject to seemingly endless renovation.

He said: “Just enough of the long-overdue refurbishment has been completed to allow a glimpse of how it might be and [the visitors] will be directed through a building site to the street. The only consolation is that last year’s Festival gave them practice for the obstacle course that is still in place.”

City chiefs and Network Rail expressed surprise at the Aberdeenshire-born presenter’s views. A Network Rail source said the work at Waverley was being carried out without closing the station, explaining why it had taken so long.

City leader Andrew Burns said: “Visitor numbers look set to outstrip previous years, which I think tells its own story.”