Edinburgh city centre branded like a 'war zone' and 'Disneyland' over Festival management

Conservatives have labelled the council’s safety measures in the city both “a war zone” and “Disneyland” during a row over the festival management of the Capital.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 7:28 pm
Crowds during the Edinburgh Fringe.

The city council rolled out a host of measures in response to safety concerns during the busy summer period – after fears raised by a senior official that someone could be pushed in front of a bus on the busy streets.

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Conservative city centre Cllr Joanna Mowat, tabled a motion calling for a host of reviews into the problems that have been reported to her.

Crowds during the Edinburgh Fringe.

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She said: “This is probably the biggest experiment we have done in reducing traffic on streets in the city in the last 12 years.

“I had anticipated that there would be certain responses. What I had not anticipated and came as quite a surprise was the scale of responses from businesses about how much this impacted their trade. They were finding a very consistent 30 per cent down.”

But transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, labelled the motion “a dog’s breakfast” and said a review was already going to take place.

She said: “It’s the council’s responsibility to ensure safety on our streets during the festival time. We have introduced a number of measures and that work will be reviewed. One aspect of that review will be the impact on businesses.

“I’m increasingly annoyed by the ridiculous characterisation by some opposition councillors of what the administration is trying to achieve with some necessary measures to ensure safety, security and sustainability with city management.”

Tory transport spokesperson, Cllr Nick Cook, said there had been some “avoidable mistakes”.

He added: “There’s no escaping the fact that the city looks awful. Some of the barriers look like they were loaned from war zones – they are low quality, they are not in-keeping with the World Heritage city.”

Conservative group leader, Cllr Iain Whyte branded the council’s strategy “a poorly thought-out system being badly delivered”.

He added: “They want to encourage tourism but they don’t want to deal with the consequences.

“They don’t care about the citizens, they don’t care about the businesses and they are happy to create a Disneyland for tourists rather than deal with things for the citizens of Edinburgh.”