Rival food vans granted festival licence on doorstep of Edinburgh restaurants

The two food trucks will sell food outside Civerinos and Spatch in Hunter Square
The two food trucks will sell food outside Civerinos and Spatch in Hunter Square
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COUNCILLORS have allowed two food traders to set up vans on the doorstep of rival city centre restaurants during the festival – despite worries over congestion and public safety.

The city council’s licensing sub-committee approved applications by Toni Macaroni and another independent fast food operator to place vans in Hunter Square – while a separate application by Civerinos and Spatch, which operate from premises at Hunter Square, were refused permission in order for police vehicles and hire bikes to be stationed during the busy festival period.

One of the trucks, applied for by William Keith Taylor, will be placed at the top of the steps in Hunter Square, while another van, expected to be used by Tony Macaroni, has been given permission to be placed on the doorstep of bar and restaurant, Spatch, and pizza restaurant Civerinos.

The businesses say they have not been consulted by licensing officials about the locations or proposals.

Alistair Macdonald, representing both Civerinos and Spatch, told the council’s licensing sub-committee that the vans will impact on trade during the busy festival period.

He said: “Their position was they didn’t want to object to any application but they want to put on record that they are the local operators. While this is a busy area, anything else that’s there does affect them.

“It was a case of if anybody had them, they would like them because they are immediately next to their restaurants. We are the local traders and we are affected by this.”

Racks for Just Eat hire bikes will be placed next to the Tron and at the bottom of the Hunter Square steps, while police vehicles will be given a station on the Royal Mile side of the Tron.

The council’s public safety manager, Jon McNeill, said there are no issues with the new locations.

He said: “The top of the toilets is not really a route of passage. The area at the bottom of the steps normally becomes an impromptu performance area which is unmanaged.

“Me and my colleagues are happy with what we are creating – flow routes for pedestrians.”

Kenneth Scott, thought to be making the application for Tony Macaroni, told councillors that the vehicles have been adapted to fit in the newly identified sites.

He said: “We identified two areas where we could both fit. We had engineering work done to the trailer in order to fit into the space that’s been identified. We think we can smarten up the back of the Tron and make it attractive for visitors.”

Councillors raised concerns that the two vans will add to congestion in Hunter Square during the busy August festival season.

Cllr Cameron Rose said the area becomes “extraordinarily busy”, while Cllr Susan Rae warned “there’s going to be so many extra people in this area”.

Cllr Neil Ross called for the vans to be refused permission due to the locations being inappropriate.

He said: “I feel this is a highly congested area. The High Street is heaving with people in August and I don’t think it’s appropriate to be adding to this.”

But licensing convener, Cllr Cathy Fullerton, called for the proposal to be given the thumbs up.

She said: “We have heard that ther’s no objection from police or roads.”

Councillors voted in favour of the plans, with Cllr Denis Dixon claiming, “if anything this will enhance the area”.