Porty’s Fat Bob saved after city council climbdown

Fat Bob has been saved!
Fat Bob has been saved!
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It appeared the fate of fibreglass mannequin Fat Bob at butcher Findlay’s was sealed as council officials issued a crackdown on temporary advertising structures.

But the local authority finally admitted in a statement yesterday that his spot outside the Portobello butchers was in fact, safe.

A shock letter advising of a new ban on A-boards, or advertising boards, due to be rolled out across the Capital worried owner Billy Hoy, 53, who said the wording of the letter implied the future of Fat Bob was on the butcher’s block.

But a story by the Evening News about the potential demise of the smiling 6ft figure prompted outcry.

“The letter said it was all temporary on-street advertising structures,” Billy explained. “But I am ecstatic that he is going to stay!

READ MORE: Rush of support to save Fat Bob from Edinburgh Council

“He is popular with the kids and tourists – folk even come in to buy their haggis and then get a photograph taken with him. This is very good news.”

The pavement is approximately five metres wide and Billy said Fat Bob is next to the shop out of the way of pedestrians.

For 30 years he has been part of the family butchers and now his tenure as the longest serving employee has been secured for at least another 30 years after the council climbdown on plans to chop him from Portobello High Street.

Officials initially said the ban had received cross-party support and offered help in coming up with alternative advertising.

But later followed up to say the impending ban on advertising boards did not apply to structures such as Fat Bob.

Considered shop dressing, Fat Bob-style statues are categorised alongside items such as plant pots which are located directly next to shop premises.

Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “Businesses were contacted to provide notification of the forthcoming ban, which applies to on-street advertising structures such as ‘A’ Boards, rather than shop dressing such as this, which we could have advised the business owner should they have approached the council.

READ MORE: Edinburgh to ban all on-street advertising boards citywide

“We appreciate that a limited number of this sort of shop dressing structures can add character to local communities, and we are happy to discuss these with business owners.

Cllr Macinnes reiterated that the most important point in addressing pavement clutter is to ensure that structures do not block pavements.

Customers and locals so enraged by the thought of losing the popular 6ft model launched an online petition to try and save the famous figurine.

Fans of the fibreglass statue also took to social media to stick the knife into councillors and back a campaign to save him. Findlay’s stocked petition sheets which quickly filled with signatures in a bid to retain some “commonsense”. Fat Bob, as he was affectionately nicknamed by local schoolkids years ago, has become such a feature of the High Street that ­tourists stop to pose for selfies with him.

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee unanimously agreed to a citywide ban on the street clutter as an “equalities issue”.