Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Christmas: Ice rink ban at St Andrew Square

Ice rink Image copyright Edinburgh's Christmas

The owners of an Edinburgh square where an annual Christmas ice rink was set have said it will no longer feature because of the damage it causes.

Essential Edinburgh, which manages St Andrew Square on behalf of the owners, said it had stopped its contract with Underbelly, which organises the ice rink.

Underbelly said it was "hugely disappointed".

Essential Edinburgh will hold something else "Christmassy" in its place.

Diminished square

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, told the BBC Scotland news website he would reveal new plans for the square next month.

He said: "We told Underbelly in March that we could not carry on accommodating the ice rink due to its size and scale, so this has not been sprung on them. They have known for a while.

"It's a five-month process to put an ice rink in as it begins in October and it's not until the end of March that re-turfing is complete.

"The square wasn't built to take bars and heavy ice rinks and the square has diminished over the years as a result.

"We will speak with our partners to come up with something else Christmassy for the square."

'Hugely disappointing'

A statement from Underbelly said: "This is a hugely disappointing decision and we're completely bewildered as to why Essential Edinburgh has made it.

"The St Andrew Square ice rink is a world-class Christmas attraction for the whole family and is, and always has been, an extraordinarily popular part of Edinburgh's Christmas.

"Last year 80,000 took to the ice, of which 34% were locals.

"This decision now means the people of Edinburgh will not have an outdoor ice rink at Christmas.

"We have no doubt this will be extremely disappointing news for many."

The garden in the middle of the square underwent a £2.6m makeover funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Enterprise before opening to the public in 2008.

The square's owners include Standard Life, Gleneagles, RBS, and Harvey Nichols.

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