Leader: ‘There could be accusations of snobbery’

The Cockburns director, Marion Williams, suggested the city centre was being destroyed by dumbed down and tacky events. Picture: TSPL
The Cockburns director, Marion Williams, suggested the city centre was being destroyed by dumbed down and tacky events. Picture: TSPL
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THE ever-growing number of events staged in our city centre parks and public spaces have proved enormously popular.

From Edinburgh’s Winter Wonderland and the Fringe to the Book Festival, they have attracted huge crowds who tend to go home happy – often after spending a few quid in nearby shops, bars and restaurants. Surely a good thing. But they do have a tendency to leave the parks in a pretty sorry state, especially at this time of year, with more mud on show than grass.

That is a real shame, but is it as serious a problem as the Capital’s best-known conservation society, the Cockburn Association, suggested this week?

The Cockburn’s director, Marion Williams, suggested the city centre was being “destroyed” by “dumbed down” and “tacky” events. One of her bugbears we know was the hugely popular Street of Light installation on the Royal Mile this winter. Now there will be many that agree with her when it comes to the nature of some of these events and the temporary damage they cause to our public gardens.

One event though is notably missing from the Cockburn’s hit list, the Book Festival, which leaves Charlotte Square needing similar restoration to St Andrew Square after the Winter Wonderland.

The Association seemingly has no objection because the book festival is clearly not “tacky” or “dumbing down”. If that’s the Cockburn’s point of view, it isn’t an attractive one, and leaves it wide open to accusations of snobbery. If the city centre is to be opened up for special events, it should be ones that all the city’s citizens can enjoy, not just some.

Given the millions that these events generate, surely the answer is to invest in better infrastructure in our parks and gardens, so that they can repaired more quickly and those who enjoy these hugely popular events can go on doing so.