Why damage to Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens is a lesson to us all – Helen Martin

We must learn to look after Princes Street Gardens more carefully, writes Helen Martin.

Monday, 20th April 2020, 12:30 pm
The repair work continues in East Princes Street Gardens (Picture: Neil Hanna)

THE drainage overhaul in East Princes Street Gardens is being referred to as necessary because it became badly waterlogged due to long-running bad weather.

What a coincidence that it only happened after the place, a beautiful green public park known for its lush grass and floral areas, was taken over by a commercial Christmas market that impacted the soil, killed off the roots and turned it into a swamp? Oh, and along with that was the revamp of the Scottish National Gallery. Oh, and we lost the trees.

As Cliff Hague, chair of the Cockburn Association heritage watchdog, said: “People are angry about the damage that has been done and the disregard for their concerns about surrendering much loved green space to commercial purposes.”

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Yes, Underbelly – and the council’s acceptance – wrecked it. There must be some legal justification to prevent any more construction in Princes Street Gardens. Any markets, ice-rinks, fairground tat, hideous lighting, should be banned or plopped somewhere else solid and undamageable... or even better forbid any of all that in Edinburgh to make it a beautiful, historical, classic and attractive Capital.

Nothing is as dominating at the moment as the coronavirus. But at least that may lead to a limit and restriction on tourism, and a drive for all visitors to enjoy themselves with local businesses such as bars, restaurants, theatres etc rather than invasive commercial organisations who care only about their profit and not a bit about our city, our residents and out beautiful landscapes.

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