Comment: Hogmanay is not just for ticket-holders

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EDINBURGH’s Hogmanay is a fantastic event, world-famous, well- organised and rightly known as the best New Year party bar none.

This year, we are sure, it will be just as fantastic as we welcome in 2016 as only Edinburgh can. Except, that is, if you were planning to take a trip up Calton Hill to enjoy the fireworks – because this year you can’t.

The gates will slam shut at 7pm, with the city council blaming the poor lighting and uneven surface for the decision, saying it is being done to keep revellers safe.

Which would be fine if it was not for the fact that the lighting and surface has not changed, as far as we know, from previous years.

Indeed there have not been, again as far as we know, any serious injures in previous years caused by the darkness or the bumpy paths.

Cynics may suggest it is a move to drive more people to the official ticketed street party or to save on policing costs.

Whatever the reason, it smacks of nannying.

Do we really need another ban? Yet another restricted area on a night where vast sections of the city centre are off limits to anyone without a ticket?

Can the revellers who head up Calton Hill, as they may have done for decades, not simply be trusted to take a torch and not fall over?

The decision to close off Calton Hill may not spoil Hogmanay but it will certainly disappoint many people, most of whom will be city residents.

Sure, there are other vantage points but there are few more spectacular views to be had for free.

While we are grateful to those who organise and run all of Edinburgh’s incredible festive events, and bring so much revenue into the city, they need to remember that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is for everyone, not just those who have stumped up for a street party ticket.