‘Grinch’ claims after residents object to Grassmarket Christmas

Grassmarket residents have been accused of acting worse than the Grinch, pictured
Grassmarket residents have been accused of acting worse than the Grinch, pictured
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Residents in the Capital’s Grassmarket area have been accused of acting “worse than the Grinch” following a failed bid to prevent a Christmas event from going ahead.

Fourteen objections were submitted in opposition to Greater Grassmarket BID’s plans, which include Christmas lights and a ‘Santa bus’ for youngsters to meet the man himself.

However the festivities have now been approved by the city council’s licensing sub-committee despite residents’ fears over amplified noise.

The plans sparked opposition after the BID group applied to extend the hours of the Grassmarket’s public realm space from 6pm to a later 8pm from December 16-24.

SNP councillor Alex Lunn was at last week’s committee meeting and told the News he was disappointed there had been such opposition to the plans.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that it’s been approved. I hope the children and families who go to the grotto have a fantastic time.

“I think the objectors need to have a look at themselves and realise they are acting worse than the Grinch.

“This space on Grassmarket is a public space – it belongs to everybody. It does not belong to the folk that live on Grassmarket.”

‘Christmas in the Grassmarket’ will get under way tomorrow evening with a festive light display switch on from 7pm, followed by carol singing and mince pies.

Santa will also take time out from his last-minute preparations to make an appearance, as will Scrooge-inspired characters ‘Half-Hangit Maggie’ and ‘Ebenezer Scroggie’.

Norrie Stewart, project manager for Greater Grassmarket BID, said they had tried to take everyone into account when planning the event.

He said: “The Grassmarket is the heart of Edinburgh’s trading heritage and Old Town and has the most magical atmosphere at Christmas time.

“We are specifically targeting the family market with low key, traditional events to add fun and festive cheer, with carol singing, mince pies and historical re-enactments.

“We’ve tried to ensure the range and balance of these festive activities is agreeable to everyone – residents, traders and visitors alike.”

However Fionna Carlisle, who has lived in Grassmarket for the last 16 years, said residents did not object to everything, just the increased noise the event would bring.

She said: “What we are trying to do is calm down all the noise and disruption that happens in the Grassmarket.

“The residents are just worn down. They keep saying it’s not going to be amplified but usually there’s some amplification and any sound just reverberates around here.”

Another resident said they were objecting to the Christmas festivities on the grounds of “additional noise and disturbance”.

In a written representation, they said: “The use of amplified sound in this residential area is unacceptable.

“The experience of previous BID events has shown that in spite of commitments to keep levels at an “acceptable level” residents are disturbed by this noise.

“The increased number of days and duration of the markets and entertainments will inevitably contribute to an already noisy environment.”

But city councillor Ron Cairns poured cold water over the claims and said organisers had assured councillors there would be no music on the bus.

He said: “These complaints have really got my back up. There is no noise at all.

“Christmas is for kids and they think it’s fantastic to have the chance to meet Santa. It’s the one time of year where they can enjoy this.

“I think they have forgotten that they were young once.”