SHOPPERS using the multi-storey car park at the St James Centre are having to hold their noses as they go to and from their vehicles thanks to a sewage leak which has been causing a stink for weeks.
The problem, close to the Elder Street entrance to the car park, was first noticed in the run-up to Christmas.
But centre bosses have so far failed to get to the root of the problem.
One insider said: “As soon as you go into the place you can smell it. People are having to walk through contaminated water.
“It’s on the ground floor – level 1A – but you can smell it up as far as level 8.”
The insider said the toilet involved was half a storey up, on level 1B, and the wall had been partially demolished as part of the investigations.
He said: “Before that, it was shooting out from the wall about chest level. Every time anyone flushed the loo it seemed to get worse.”
But he said the problem did not seem to deter customers from using the multi-storey. It’s a busy car park. People comment on the stink, but if you need to park, you need to park.”
The multi-storey, along with the entire St James Centre will soon disappear from the Edinburgh landscape to make way for the new £850 million St James Quarter featuring 42,500 sq m of shopping space over three sweeping crescent-shaped levels, a swathe of premium office space, an apart-hotel, a theatre and 138 flats.
The current centre is due to close in September, with construction work set to start soon afterwards and the new development scheduled for completion in early 2020.
A spokesman for the St James Centre said a drainage contractor had been called in to investigate the leak.
“There is a blockage there we’re trying to solve. Something has been put down a drain that should not have been.”
He said a camera inspection had been carried out and machines had been brought in.
“We thought we had fixed it for a while.”
He said the immediate area had been closed off and the centre was working with NCP to resolve the problem. “It’s a priority for us.”
And he admitted: “It doesn’t smell very nice.”
NCP did not respond to a request for comment.