Protests as Lady Boys of Bangkok allowed to stay in Pilrig Park during Edinburgh Fringe

The Ladyboys of Bangkok is a popular Fringe show.
The Ladyboys of Bangkok is a popular Fringe show.
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A ROW has broken out over an Edinburgh park earmarked to be the site of a touring cabaret act performing at the Fringe this summer.

Organisers of the Lady Boys of Bangkok troupe announced yesterday that they would return to their “adopted home” for their 21st year and take up residence at Pilrig Park.

They announced that they had been looking for a new home for the act for some years and wanted to ensure they remained on a council owned site so they could ‘contribute directly to the city’s economy’.

The popular show was created for Edinburgh Fringe audiences and since its debut in 1998 has welcomed more than 3 million people into their custom built Sabai Pavilion to enjoy their own glittering brand of song and dance.

Announcing their new venue via a press release, organisers stated they would be inhabiting the park from Friday 2 to Monday 26 August following a council consultation period carried out between December 14 and January 15.

But a local councillor has expressed concern over the proposed plans claiming that they contravene regulations that limit public events to 15 days.

Susan Rae, Leith Walk Green Party councillor and Convener of Leith Neighbourhood Partnership, said: “I’m very disappointed at the appearance of this somewhat premature press release.

“Once more, a decision has been made by council officers, under delegated powers, which local Councillors, the Leith Central Community Council and, most importantly, the Friends of Pilrig Park, are in complete disagreement with.

“It is at odds with the regulations which set out that the Park cannot be used for events for periods of over 15 days, with best practice that consultation not be carried out over holiday periods, and the event will incorporate both bars and a restaurant, neither of which have yet been granted licences.

“I don’t want those who love and cherish Pilrig Park to lose the use of it for a month of the summer, and, given a previous decision that the ground is too boggy to host the Mela for two days, the decision that it can sustain a large event like this for a month makes no sense at all.”

Ms Rae went on to tell the Evening News: “My concern is it could take up two thirds of the park. The condition of the park has been judged poor for public events – there are so many issues surrounding the decision.

“Where will the generator go? What will happen to the litter? What about the noise?”

Last year residents were left outraged after Lothian Buses closed all bus stops on Pilrig Street thanks to double parked cars and Councillor Rae has “huge concerns” over a similar situation should the Ladyboys of Bangkok take up residence.

She said: “We don’t want a repeat of last year’s bus debacle - where will people park?

“The park is really well used by local residents.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council confirmed that a standard public performance consultation had been carried out and no objections had been received so the application was approved. They said that the council are aware that there have since been objections lodged.