Comment: Let’s hope a compromise can be found

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YOU cannot question the popularity of the Ladyboys of Bangkok or what a smash hit they have been on the Fringe.

Unfortunately, you also cannot deny the fact that they appear to be enjoying preferential rates for their prime Festival spot.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it emerges today that there has been a lot of interest in securing their space on the Meadows.

Which leaves the city council with a problem.

The Ladyboys have already warned they will hit the road if they are told to find an alternative site. But can a cash-strapped ­authority really ignore an opportunity to triple income?

The answer is probably no.

A commercial operation using publicly owned land is going to have to expect to meet the market rate, no matter who they are.

There is no doubt the Fringe would be poorer for the absence of the Ladyboys but it is clear the council has to secure the best overall deal for the city.

If someone is offering three times as much, it is going to be very difficult to turn down in such straitened times.

There is the ongoing maintenance on the Meadows to consider for a start. Ensuring the beauty spot is returned to a proper state after the marquees leave for ­another year remains an issue and one which costs the city’s council taxpayers to put right.

We have no doubt there are ­alternative sites in Edinburgh which could be found for the ­Ladyboys if they ultimately had to leave the Meadows, but whether they would agree to that to remain part of the world’s largest arts ­festival remains to be seen.

It would be a real shame if such a firm Fringe fixture decided to up sticks but that may have to ­happen.

Let’s hope a compromise can still be found which will see the city get the best deal and the Fringe retain some of their most popular performers.