Revised Fringe plans approved by city council

Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy.
Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy.
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Bosses of the Fringe festival have criticised the city council after being forced to scrap plans to provide more space for street performers.

Organisers had applied to use Hunter Square for aerial performers and a ‘magic corner’ - but after the council’s Sub-Licensing Committee allowed pizza vans to operate in the area until 3am every day during the Fringe, festival organisers were forced to submit revised plans.

The Fringe Society’s revised proposals were approved by the committee, but organisers spoke out about their disappointment the initial scheme was rejected.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Fringe Society, said: “I do want to express a wee bit of disappointment. I thought the decision was made last time before we had really had the chance to put our position forward.”

At the previous meeting, councillors approved David Coutts’ plans for pizza vans in Hunter Square, before hearing the Fringe’s proposals.

Ms McCarthy also hit back at claims by Cllr Cathy Fullerton and Cllr Gavin Barry at the previous meeting that the Fringe was acting as big business, trying to push out smaller traders. She said: “The Fringe Society is a small charity of 24 people - it’s not-for-profit. The street events that we manage, far from being big business, those people are dependent on donations from the public. The Fringe Society does in fact support 50 small traders who operate throughout the Fringe and do extremely well.”

Andrew Meldrum, street events manager for the Fringe Society, said the original proposals would have ensured improved safety for the public.