Detailed plans for Edinburgh's Christmas market unveiled

Big Wheel and Star Flyer in Princes Street Gardens
Last year's Christmas market was the biggest everLast year's Christmas market was the biggest ever
Last year's Christmas market was the biggest ever

DETAILED plans for this year’s Christmas market have been unveiled, showing attractions spread across three city-centre locations.

There will be no stalls in East Princes Street Gardens, which has traditionally hosted the market, but the Big Wheel and Star Flyer attractions are to be located on the top level of the gardens close to the Scott Monument.

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The nearby Mound precinct will have 27 stalls. Another 18 stalls will be sited in George Street, along with the ice rink, which was ousted from St Andrew Square last year, while round the corner in Castle Street will be the box office and a further 12 stalls.

And over in the Old Town, the High Street will have 14 stalls and the Christmas tree.

Events company Underbelly, which has an annual contract worth up to £800,000 with the city council to run the winter festivals, has submitted planning applications for the three sites for the markets to operate on this basis in both 2020 and 2021.

The Cockburn Association has previously said the gardens are not appropriate for the Big Wheel and Star Flyer.

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More than 2.6 million people visited the city’s Christmas attractions in East Princes Street Gardens last year.

It was city’s biggest ever Christmas market, but it came under fire over the scale of the event. Even as the new “spacedeck” was being built in the gardens, residents protested about “hyper-bloated commercialism”.

And it was revealed planning permission had never been granted for the extensive new infrastructure.

There were repeated calls for alternative sites to be explored for future years.

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The plans for this year’s Christmas and Hogmanay events have been scaled back because of Covid, but the council reached agreement with Underbelly last month for a six-week programme of events.

The application for the Christmas market and the accompanying attractions says they would operate 10am-10pm.

For Princes Street Gardens and the Mound precinct, George Street and Castle Street, they would be in place from November 21 until January 3, and in the High Street from November 28 until December 24.

Underbelly says the layout has been carefully designed to allow maximum access and egress and ensure appropriate social distancing.

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And it adds: “The proposed scheme will help secure the reduction of the footprint of Edinburgh’s Christmas at East Princes Street Gardens, through the distribution of Edinburgh’s Christmas events across Edinburgh.”

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