Barrier removal restores Edinburgh Castle view

Image source, Phil Miller, The Herald
Image caption,
The barriers that blocked views of Edinburgh Castle have now been removed

Controversial hoardings that were blocking views of Edinburgh Castle have been removed, the council has confirmed.

City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey asked officers to take down the high black screens around Princes Street Gardens.

They had been installed for safety reasons to stop people gathering on Princes Street to watch concerts.

Now instead a section of pavement will be closed while concerts are playing.

The gardens are playing host to the Summer Sessions series of concerts between 6 and 19 August, including performances by Sir Tom Jones, Paloma Faith, Kasabian, Bastille and Brian Wilson.

But the erection of the black barriers outraged the city council leader, who tweeted: "This is public space and these are public views.

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

'Really pleased'

Mr McVey said he had asked for a guarantee that the screens would not be erected for any future events in the city centre park.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said: "Every summer, our priority is to ensure the safety of the public during the month of August. We work with event organisers and partner agencies to make this happen and to ensure events run smoothly.

"These particular screens were designed to stop anyone from climbing a fence, which would be a security risk, but also to prevent people from gathering on Princes Street and spilling out onto the road while a concert is underway, potentially injuring themselves or others.

"Working with event organisers and partner agencies, we have been able to remove the screens today and to identify an alternative means of ensuring safety. We will instead be closing a section of pavement along a stretch of Princes Street where the concerts take place.

"This pavement will only be closed while performances are under way."

Mr McVey, said he was pleased that a "less imposing solution" had been found that would "provide the same level of public protection but allow the view of the gardens and castle to remain undisturbed".

He added: "This is a public park and the removal of the barriers helps us to strike a better balance."

The black screens had sparked anger among some residents and politicians in the city, with concerns local people and tourists were being disadvantaged as the public space is blocked off for commercial events.

Green MSP Andy Wightman welcomed Mr McVey's announcement, having previously highlighted that the gardens are common land.

Image source, Adam McVey
Image caption,
The view of Edinburgh Castle has now been restored

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