Edinburgh street food market told to remove 'dangerous' neon pink sign

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The council stepped in over safety concerns about the large illuminated ‘ESF’ sign at the entrance.

Operators of a new Edinburgh food market have been told to remove a huge neon pink sign advertising the new city centre foodie spot after it was erected without planning permission.

Edinburgh Street Food at the Omni Centre launched in February and has so far proved popular with its tastes from around the world and stylish, modern décor.

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However, the council has now stepped in over safety concerns about large illuminated ‘ESF’ letters placed at the entrance.

The pink sign has sparked safety fearsThe pink sign has sparked safety fears
The pink sign has sparked safety fears

Planning officials refused advertising consent for the sign – which was installed before a decision was made – saying it compromised public safety and increased the risk of pedestrians falling down adjacent steps.

A heritage group which objected said the “visually intrusive” lit-up letters had been “pre-emptively installed” and urged the applicants to reconsider the design.

Plans for the ‘freestanding exterior sign’ were lodged by Edinburgh Street Food co-founder Andrew Marshall just a few weeks ahead of the market’s opening.

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But now with the bid firmly rejected Mr Marshall is likely to have to remove the one-and-a-half metre-high letters. He has three months to appeal the decision and if that fails the case can be brought to the Scottish Government.

Council planners said: “The introduction of the advertising adjacent to a stepped area would compromise pedestrian safety in terms of fall-risk at the steps, and the scale of the proposal would reduce the level of visibility and passive overlooking along the access path raising the possibility of reduced public safety.

“The placement of the freestanding advertisement on top of tactile paving, in an area of public realm that is adjacent to steps would have the potential to impact negatively upon persons who are visually impaired.”

They added that due to the “position, design, colour and lighting scheme” the advert constituted “an unacceptable intrusion into the streetscape, which would result in the advertisement creating visual clutter, to the detriment of amenity in the New Town World Heritage site”.

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Furthermore an objection from the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland noted the “visually intrusive” signage had been “pre-emptively installed before a decision on the application has been made”.

It said: “The colour of illumination and design of the freestanding signage make it extremely visible and potentially damaging to the character of the World Heritage Site and Conservation Area.

“Additionally, the sign is illuminated with pink neon bulbs, when guidance specifies that white is the preferred colour.

“The AHSS would welcome a reconsideration of the design of this signage to harmonise more effectively with the overall character of the World Heritage Site and Conservation Area.”

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