Edinburgh Fringe campsite plan in flood fears

The park already floods when there is heavy rain. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The park already floods when there is heavy rain. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FEARS have been raised over plans to site a huge campsite in Inch Park amid claims it falls within a multi-million pound flood prevention scheme.

The plans aims to provide cheaper accommodation to thousands of Fringe ­visitors and performers who would set up camp in the park.

But a concerned local resident claimed that people were “up in arms” about the lack of consultation and the flood risk.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Even in a best-case scenario, they’re telling people to make their travel arrangements now when they have no licence in place to even hold the event.

“The overriding issue is that the area is inside a multi-million pound flood prevention scheme and is actually designed to channel and contain flood water after heavy rainfall, and it regularly floods in August to a depth of around two feet.”

He added: “They seem to be intent on putting thousands of campers in an area that floods regularly – from a health and safety point of view, it just seems madness or irresponsible. It’s a good idea to have camping, but it has to be on the correct site.”

Inch Park is the “preferred” location for up to 1000 tents, though other sites are also being considered by Campingninja, which is running the project.

Rhian Evans, of Campingninja, insisted they will take the views of residents into account and Inch Park was not the only venue they were looking at. She said: “It’s not a gigantic campsite, it’s about the size of two rugby pitches.

“We have got two or three available sites, but Inch Park is our favourite one in the process. We have got a definite back-up which we can use.”

The radical move marks the first time Edinburgh has opened up its parklands to festival-goers struggling to pay inflated August hotel prices, and would boast ­thousands of tents as well as a performance space for ­travelling acts. Bookings for the pop-up campsite have already been advertised on the Visit Scotland website.

Two thirds of the park is leased to Inch Park Community Sports Club (IPCSC) by the city council, and Paul Reddish, a volunteer for IPCSC, stressed that discussions were still at a very early stage.

He said: “We have had one discussion and we will look at whether it is doable. We have got to do our own feasibility study as to when and if it can happen.”

The idea has already been welcomed by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which highlighted the importance of providing a range of accommodation for visitors.

A council spokesperson said: “We would need to ­consider the proposals in detail before determining a ­position, as well as ensuring that the correct procedures are ­followed.”