Van belonging to Underbelly contractors gets stuck in the mud in Princes Street Gardens

The council says it hopes to fully restore the gardens within 14 weeks.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 5:21 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 5:55 pm
The images show two workers fixing a tow to the Lanark-based GP Plantscape vehicle, with material positioned underneath the vehicle's rear wheels to help get it out. Pic: Edinburgh Spotlight.

Pictures have emerged of Underbelly contractors working to pull a van out of the mud after it became stuck in East Princes Street Gardens this morning.

The images show two workers fixing a tow to the Lanark-based GP Plantscape vehicle, with material positioned underneath the vehicle's rear wheels to help get it out.

It comes on Underbelly's final day on the site as part of their clear-up following Edinburgh's Christmas Market and Hogmanay events.

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A van belonging to Underbelly contractors gets stuck in the mud in Princes Street Gardens. Pic: Edinburgh Spotlight.

Edinburgh City Council is leading the restoration of the gardens with Underbelly providing the funding, and they hope to fully restore the gardens in 14 weeks subject to weather conditions.

Some residents have voiced concerns this year about the state of the ground and the length of time it could take to repair.

Among them is the group Edinburgh Spotlight, which posted pictures of the van on twitter on Monday along with a post which said: "One of the Underbelly contractors got stuck in the mud in EPSG this morning."

Edinburgh Spotlight were among a number of groups invited to the gardens for a walkabout tour on Monday where council staff sought to allay some of their concerns.

An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: "Three of our expert Parks and Greenspace officers – who between them have nearly 100 years of experience looking after Princes Street Gardens and ensuring it wins a national Green Flag award year after year for its excellence – led a site visit at East Princes Street Gardens today to explain the process for reinstating them to their annual summer glory.

"The walkabout was attended by representatives of a number of interested parties, including the Cockburn Association, New Town and Broughton Community Council, and Old Town Community Council, as well as Andrew Heald and Edinburgh Spotlight. It was a useful and productive session, and we are planning to follow this up with a further walkaround once the re-turfing is underway.

"Depending on weather conditions, we anticipate East Princes Street Gardens being fully restored in approximately 14 weeks."

Controversy

The market, a fixture of the Christmas festival for more than 20 years, was dogged by controversy after it was allowed to take over more of East Princes Street Gardens than ever before, with a record 163 stalls and bars spread out around the park - including south of the railway for the first time.

After work had started on new infrastructure to protect new landscaping in the gardens, which was created as part of an ongoing overhaul of the Scottish National Gallery, it emerged that Underbelly did not have planning permission for the scaffolding.

Just before the market opened, Edinburgh World Heritage called for it to be scaled back in future years because of its impact on views across the park, and warned the council it must not set a precedent for future years.

But Underbelly said the changes made in the gardens meant the market was able to "easily accommodate" the rise in visitors, protect the new-look park and improve accessibility to the market.

A “root and branch” review of the Christmas and Hogmanay festivals from 2022 is due to begin within months.