Moving giant TV screen 3 metres to cost thousands

A big crowd gathered at Festival Square to witness the opening of the London Olympics in 2012. Picture: Ian Georgeson
A big crowd gathered at Festival Square to witness the opening of the London Olympics in 2012. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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PLANS to move Edinburgh’s giant television screen would allow major sporting events to be seen by more people and stop it shining into a nearby hotel restaurant.

London-based SIS Digital wants to move the screen in the city’s Festival’s Square by about three metres, angling it slightly to the north.

The move follows complaints from the nearby Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa that the giant screen was “visually intrusive”.

Patrick Noone, director of SIS Digital, said: “The screen was shining into their restaurant. You don’t really want a huge TV beaming in Coronation Street. If the television is turned, all they will be seeing is the slim end.

“It is going to keep us happy. It is going to keep them happy.”

Mr Noone confirmed that moving the TV would cost “many thousands” of pounds, some of which would be paid for out of advertising revenues.

The work would be carried out in the evenings, and would only take a few hours.

It is unlikely that a crane would be required, Mr Noone said.

During the move the television will also be checked and renovated.

Mr Noone said: “It will be stripped down to make it far sleeker – it is going to Weight Watchers.

“It will be really slimline and it can be turned on a gear so it can face more of the audience on Lothian Road.”

He added: “Planning and council members have been very supportive. I have also been approached by a number of councils around the UK which are interested in the idea.”

It had been feared that the plug might be pulled on the TV, which had shown Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory to a packed square.

But now SIS Digital has revealed plans that would see continuing use to cover major sporting events such as the World Cup, the Ryder Cup, and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The screen would also be used as an information station for the city council, allowing it to promote events such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Jazz Festival and the Book Festival.

One of the ideas under discussion is to show films from the Edinburgh Film Festival, with wireless headphones for the audio.

The renewal of the TV screen has been approved. However, the application to move it is not due to be discussed until May.

The screen was paid for by the BBC but the cost of its upkeep was met by the council and since it was installed in 2009 there have been demands to switch it off.

In September, the screen looked set to come down due to high maintenance costs and lack of interest in it.

The local authority was not willing to continue picking up the £26,000-a-year power and maintenance bill.

It was claimed at the time that the climate and the site’s location outside the main city centre meant it had battled to attract large groups of viewers.

TUNED OUT AT THATCHER FUNERAL

THE big screen had been due to show Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, but organisers pulled the plug amid fears it could become a focal point for protests.

Previously it had shown the BBC News channel, which covered Baroness Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The decision was taken after police fears that the square could become a gathering place for protesters.

A council spokesman said: “Dedicated coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will not be shown on the big screen in Festival Square.”

At the time there were 22 such screens in the UK, jointly-operated by the BBC and local authorities.