Merchiston fireworks to go ahead despite protests

Around 100 residents objected to the annual charity event. Picture: Jane Barlow
Around 100 residents objected to the annual charity event. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A CONTROVERSIAL fireworks display which sparked a petition signed by more than a hundred fed-up residents has been given the go-ahead.

People opposed to the charity pyrotechnics had likened previous shows to “like something out of a war zone”.

Despite the claims the show “terrorised” locals, Morningside-based charity Scottish Love in Action (SLA) was yesterday granted a public entertainment licence to hold the fundraising event at George Watson’s rugby ground in Merchiston for the third year running.

We told earlier this week how last year’s event “left the ground shaking” and terrorised pets, children and the elderly.

Approval was given despite the petition claiming the displays should be scaled back dramatically because of the risk they posed to buildings and people’s wellbeing.

No extra conditions have been put on the two fireworks displays scheduled for November 3 – just two days before Guy Fawkes Night.

The charity, which raised more than £24,000 from the event last year, will write to nearby residents notifying them of the potential noise as a gesture of good faith.

The green light was given by the city council’s licencing sub-committee.

Committee member and Greens councillor Steve Burgess said members had weighed up the substantial benefits of the fireworks, which pulled in more than 4500 spectators last year. The proceeds go towards helping hundreds of destitute children in India.

Cllr Burgess said: “The police and the fire brigade said they’d much rather have one large community event than lots and lots of small events in people’s back gardens that would actually not be as safe.

“The charity running it were at pains to point out this is designed for families, including small children. They’ve already taken steps to reduce the extent of the fireworks.”

Each of the two displays are limited to 15 minutes apiece.

Merchiston Community Council was among organisations to write in strongly supporting the event licence, arguing against petition claims that the fireworks transformed the neighbourhood into a “war zone”.

Alan Dickson, chairman of Craiglockhart Community Council, had called for strict noise restrictions to be set, but said he respected the decision.

He said: “I don’t think there would have been constituency-wide or ward-wide support for banning the event. Fireworks at this time of year are a 

SLA executive director Colin McRae said the charity was pleased that “common sense had prevailed”.

He said: “The residents in the south side of Edinburgh will be able to attend again a safe and well-organised event that we’ve put on for the last two years. Obviously we’ll continue to ensure that the event is kept well managed.”