Public call for Christmas lights to be more spread out across City

Christmas lights in the East End of Princes Street.

Christmas lights in the East End of Princes Street.

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CHRISTMAS may be just around the corner – but would you really know it from walking down Princes Street?

That is the question being asked by some this winter amid claims the Capital’s festive lights need to be spread more evenly throughout the city.

West End, Princes Street, Lights. Picture; Ian Georgeson

West End, Princes Street, Lights. Picture; Ian Georgeson

Hundreds of people turned out earlier this month to watch Olympic cyclist Callum Skinner turn on George Street’s illuminations but some want more lights towards the west end of Princes Street as well.

Andy McCreath, a trader at Wallaces for Flowers, said from his Castle Street pitch it didn’t appear that Princes Street had much in the way of lighting.

He said: “We have places in Glasgow and Paisley and their lights are far superior.

“The George Street ones are all right, but it makes it look as though George Street is the main street in the city.

“It’s very dull when you consider the amount of lights that are out on the tram lines.”

It was a view echoed by fellow Castle Street trader Helen Travis, of Gentleman Jack’s hot dog stand, who said she thought the lights looked “sparse” and could do with being more evenly spread.

City centre councillor Joanna Mowat said she thought the lights in Princes Street’s trees worked to good effect.

She said: “When those lights are on I think they are the best Christmas lights anywhere in the world.

“They are very beautiful but aren’t over-the-top as there’s so much else that goes on with the Christmas market and the Street of Light.”

Cllr Mowat said in an “ideal world” it would always be nice to have more lights – particularly towards the West End – but said a lack of time and money made things tricky.

She added the fact Princes Street only has buildings along one side made things “logistically difficult”, adding: “It’s something we should give consideration to working with the West End BID and with businesses in the area because there isn’t much money in the kitty for Christmas lights.”

As well as at the Christmas market, Princes Street also boasts lights in its trees, as well as some of its shop fronts.

However, some visitors, including Camille Nicolas from France, said they were a bit surprised by the decorations.

The 23-year-old said she questioned her friend about the lights not long after arriving.

She explained: “I said it’s missing some lights because we were up high [towards the Mound] and couldn’t see the illuminations. My friend told me it was on George Street.”

But Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture leader, said the council’s budget for winter lighting had remained in place for the last decade despite rising inflation levels.

He said: “Edinburgh’s city centre is as festive a place as you could find in the UK.

“More lights were installed over the weekend and some are still to be installed in early December, but with 3000 bulbs adorning the Christmas tree on the Mound and 60,000 lights dazzling George Street – not to mention the attractions in St Andrew Square, Festival Square and the rest of the Gardens – I would say the city is already looking great.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk