Owner of pizza restaurant slams council decision to allow pizza stalls during Festival

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The furious owner of city centre pizza restaurant Civerinos has hit out at a decision to allow pizza vans to park on the Royal Mile during August.

The temporary food vans have been given permission to grab a slice of festival crowds spending money by setting up outside the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile and Hunter Square.

Manager Cree Britee-Steer with one of Civerinos' pizzas. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Manager Cree Britee-Steer with one of Civerinos' pizzas. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But Michele Civiera, owner of Civerinos which opened in Hunter Square in 2015, said the council was making life ever harder for established businesses in the city centre.

He said: “I’m putting my neck out for all local and small businesses in the area – it’s not just about Civerinos. There’s just no consistency – this is not a permanent food stand and someone is cashing in on the festival.

“Hunter Square is already very busy – there is a plethora of businesses fighting hard all year and the council make this decision on the one month we’re guaranteed to do well.

“If it was there all year round, they would be a neighbour, it’s irrelevant about the product similarity. This is not personal but about what the council are trying to achieve with small businesses in the city at the moment.

“It is not about the operator, it’s the standard of the committee on a monthly basis.

“We have roads closed for 
deliveries, advertising “A” boards are being ‘put to bed’ and now we are getting a pizza van on our doorstep for the festival – it just gets tougher and tougher.

“Some things are good for the city but it is not measured consistently and they don’t ask the local businesses to participate or provide a view.”

The plans for the stalls – Taylors of Edinburgh and Tony Macaroni – were agreed despite council officers highlighting “long-standing concerns regarding overcrowding”.

Officers pointed out concerns following a memo from the authority’s director of place around safety issues and overcrowding on pavements.

But David Coutts, the applicant for the two licences, has hit back at reaction saying that the families behind the two hot food units have operated for the last six years at the Tron during the Fringe without incident.

“They are Edinburgh-based, employ local people, provide good quality food at decent prices.

“This is street food, on-the-go as people go between shows and is particularly useful after 9pm for families and day-round visitors who can not get into the numerous restaurants that are invariably full.

“This is exactly what happens in any forward-thinking city worldwide during festival times, that is aspiring to be one of the best. Santiago, Vancouver, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, London are some examples of such.

“There was no committee objection from the local enforcers of such problems namely the police and there has not been for six years now. There was no objection from the council’s own public safety team who remained “neutral”.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk