New market for roof of Princes Mall

An artist's impression of the seasonal Boxsmall market on the Princes Mall roof
An artist's impression of the seasonal Boxsmall market on the Princes Mall roof
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A pop-up market offering picnic areas and the best of Scottish craft and food has been given the go-ahead to open on the roof of Princes Mall.

Leith-based business Nest Events Ltd has had its plans to site 31 stalls and a picnic area on the central landmark approved by city planners.

Entitled Boxsmall, the seasonal market is proposed to take place during Easter, summer and Christmas, and will showcase the best of Scottish design, craft and children’s novelty wares.

In the summer months, market-goers will also be able to create their own picnic from a collection of ten fresh food stalls.

Shona Donaldson of Nest Events said: “We are very excited by this proposal which will be geared towards the family-friendly tourist market. This market won’t be selling tartan tat or trinkets but showcasing the best of what Scotland has to offer.

“The market will also be as innovative in look and design as the goods sold from it. Each stallholder will go through a stringent selection process to ensure they won’t be competing with each other but complementing one another.”

She added: “This site has been crying out to be used. At present it’s a stark concrete slab but with the most beautiful skyline all around it. This market will bring a bit of colour and excitement.”

The stone plaza which sits above the mall is currently used by the Balmoral Hotel as a fire assembly point for its 2800 guests. However, an arrangement is currently being worked out between the concerned parties.

In a note to planners, the five-star hotel said the plans “would benefit the local area with added footfall”.

And the mall’s owner, Premier Property Group (PPG), has also lent its 
support by “fully endorsing” the application.

PPG has for many years been attempting to promote leisure uses on the mall roof which offers unrivalled views to North Bridge, Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat.

In total, 20 stalls will be positioned within the northern plaza area immediately adjacent to Princes Street, while a picnic area, comprising food outlets contained within a further 11 stalls and retractable tent, will be located in the south-west corner of the terrace.

Temporary permission has been granted for the Easter, summer and winter festivals for a three-year period, from April 2014 to January 2017. Organisers hope to have the first market up and running by June 20, 2014.

Councillor Frank Ross, convener of the economy committee, said: “Edinburgh is a vibrant city throughout the year and benefits from extra business during its busy festival months. We welcome the arrival of a new market during this period, which will complement the city centre’s choice of shopping and promote Edinburgh as a great place for retail investment.”