Way back in 1998, I was part of the leadership team that agreed to the proposal to site an ice rink in Princes Street Gardens to complement the city’s Christmas celebrations and I have never regretted it since.
The concept was both imaginative and innovative, was worthy of support and has stood the test of time.
Yes, there were some teething troubles and setbacks in the beginning, but the Edinburgh public demonstrated its approval of the new venture by snapping up tickets and taking to the ice in their droves. Fast forward 20 years and the success of the ice rink in St Andrew Square is there for all to see with more than 80,000 people, young and old, couples, families, visitors and residents all enjoying the experience of skating in the square last year.
What a pity then that the proprietors of St Andrew Square have decided to deprive the people of the city and beyond the opportunity to ice skate this year by refusing to give permission to the promoters to site the rink on ‘their’ ground. Many of the said businesses are new to St Andrew Square (and to Edinburgh) which makes it all the more galling that they have deemed the Square out of bounds for the ice rink this year.
However, it would appear that all is not lost and pressure from the city council and the public may force a rethink.
If the businesses in question want to generate goodwill, hopefully they will allow the public to continue participating in what has become a major Christmas pastime in Edinburgh.