Edinburgh 'night mayor' plans moved forward amid concern over 'crisis point'

COUNCILLORS have agreed to investigate appointing a ‘night-life coordinator’ to help curb disputes with local residents and the authorities.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 5:52 pm
Late-night events and venues in Edinburgh city centre, such as those in Rose Street, are set to face a clampdown under the new plans. Pic: Ian Georgeson

The independent position, often called a ‘night mayor’ was been adopted in other European cities including New York and Paris. It is thought the position could lead to new restrictions on pop-up venues and one-off events.

Green culture spokesperson, Cllr Alex Staniforth, tabled a motion, calling for a cross-party working group to investigate how a night mayor could be appointed and said the position could have the “enthusiastic support of residents”.

He added: “I really do think a working group is the only way to get everyone round the table. I don’t think the community safety partnership is the way to go.

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“Whichever way forward we go with, there seems to be there’s a great deal a night- life coordinator could do for this city. We could keep venues open.

“Espionage and Leith Depot are both closing very shortly. We need to keep venues open in this city and a vibrant nightlife. Ultimately, I just want everybody to have a good time.”

Independent Cllr Lewis Ritchie blasted the council administration for letting the city’s night-time economy “reach crisis-point”. He also said the Capital’s “restrictive licensing approach” had made life difficult for venues.

He added: “Edinburgh’s nightclubs have been silenced. Our live music scene lags miles behind Glasgow.”

Earlier this year, the Edinburgh Licensing Board set up additional areas of over-provision in the Capital, where new licenses will only be granted if they can persuade councillors they are required, above and beyond the usual rules.

Board chairman, Cllr Norman Work, said regulation had nothing to do with venues closing their doors.

He added: “Edinburgh is a very vibrant city. The council is very supportive and very much in support of the night-time economy.”

Councillors agreed that the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership will discuss a night-life co-ordinator being set up, along with representatives from the trade.