Castle Street ban leaves Ceilidh Culture homeless

Edinburgh City Council is blocking markets for at least six months. Picture: Rob McDougall
Edinburgh City Council is blocking markets for at least six months. Picture: Rob McDougall
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PUBLIC events have been banned on a busy city centre street for up to six months over concerns they were affecting local traders.

Edinburgh City Council’s regulatory committee has called a halt to all events on Castle Street while a review of street trading is carried out across the Capital.

Councillors recently made the move after permanent businesses on the street, supported by Essential Edinburgh, spoke out against the markets.

The decision has left organisers of the Ceilidh Culture Street Fair, due to be held at the site over Easter weekend, with just two weeks to find an alternate venue after its licence application was turned down by the council’s licensing sub-committee on Friday.

But organisers of the market, which promotes Scottish crafts, fashion, jewellery, food and drink and stages live music, are confident they can find an alternative venue by its start date on Saturday, April 18. Tania Pramschufer, of organisers Hand Up Events, said: “It has not been cancelled. The council is being very supportive of the event and are working with us on another city centre location.”

She said the local authority had acknowledged that Ceilidh Culture, now in its fifth year, attracted thousands of visitors.

“They recognise that our events are quality and engaging, but there’s been other markets where they have had issues,” said Ms Pramschufer.

“It’s a wonderful event. It’s really about bringing together all the best of Scottish crafts and music, with live music over four days.”

The event is also due to incorporate Record Store Day on April 19, including a stall from the Capital’s cult Avalanche Records firm.

Committee convener Councillor Gavin Barrie said: “We were getting more complaints than was justifiable, so we had to do something about it. We are having a general look at street trading across Edinburgh. A number of areas are problematic, like the High Street stalls, where we have more people wanting to trade there than ever.”

The local authority’s regulatory committee agreed on Friday to continue the moratorium on Castle Street while a consultation is carried out with the businesses.

Cllr Barrie said: “Council officers will work diligently to try and see if they can find another place, but it’s up to them to apply for a licence.

“The applicants knew that the moratorium was in place. Our officers had suggested to them that they should look to make contingency plans.” One Castle Street trader said: “It’s a beautiful street and people take photos, but when they put markets up it really spoils the view.

“There are people everywhere, and they take a lot of business away from us.

“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I am against it.”