Princes Street Gardens barriers blocking views to be removed

Council chiefs have bowed to demands to remove huge barriers blocking views of Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street during the festivals.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 12th August 2018, 6:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 12th August 2018, 7:03 pm

They were erected to ensure passers-by could not see into concerts being staged by acts like Sir Tom Jones, Bastille, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Paloma Faith and Kasabian.

But the move quickly provoked a storm of criticism for ruining the view.

Council leader Adam McVey has intervened after heritage campaigners and politicians demanded the removal of the barriers and expressed concerns about future use of the gardens once a new concert arena is created. A spokesman for the city council said officers would be meeting as soon as possible to look into ways of “improving the situation.”

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Green MSP Andy Wightman said: “Princes Street Gardens are common land.

“Time to change the law and give citizens greater democratic control.”

Mr McVey told his Twitter followers: “This is public space and these are public views.

“Ticketed events cannot put up barriers which are to the detriment of the city.”

In a subsequent official statement, he added: “I’m deeply concerned that the special character of princes Street and the Gardens is being seriously undermined by the erection of these barriers.

“While ticketed events can provide a strong use for the current facilites as we look to take forward a newly developed bandstand for the capital, these events cannot be to the detriment of the city.

“I’ll be working with council officers to explore how we can remove these barriers as soon as possible to reinstate what are public views and I’ll be seeking assurances that this doesn’t reoccur for any future events.”

The Cockburn Association, the city’s long-running heritage group, had mounted a campaign urging people to raise concerns over the barriers and future management of the gardens with the local authority.

A new statement from the association said: “Some speedy action from Cllr Adam McVey to preserve much-loved public views and public space in response to concerns raised by the Cockburn and many citizens of Edinburgh this weekend over barriers around Princes Street Gardens.”