Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Christmas market will not open unless it is safe, council says

Princes Street Gardens
Image caption The huge scaffolding lattice which will take the weight of the Christmas market

The Christmas Market in Edinburgh will not open until it is safe, council officials have confirmed.

It follows concerns after a picture was posted on Twitter showing scaffolding precariously balanced on a steep slope holding up a platform that will house the market in Princes Street Gardens.

Underbelly, the company behind the controversial market, moved to reassure the public it was secure.

The platform needs to be able to hold thousands of people.

Weekend attendance to the market regularly exceeds 100,000 per day, while the highest attendance last year hit 124,000.

People have taken to social media to voice concerns after seeing a close-up picture of the scaffolding. Some said it was "an accident waiting to happen" while others said they would not stand on the structure.

A man claiming to be a scaffolder said you were meant "to dig a hole out and make sure it was on a level surface, and the boards needed to be at least 24in [61cm]".

Planning permission still has not been granted for the temporary development, despite the market being set to open on 16 November.

The City of Edinburgh Council has also launched an investigation into whether the correct processes were followed by councillors and officials in giving Underbelly a two-year extension to its contract.

Labour councillor Gordon Munro has called for reassurances that the steel scaffolding and wooden platform will be able to cope.

He said: "I would like assurances that this work, that has obviously been rigorous, in taking four months to be undertaken, also takes into account the figures that are being talked about - up to 124,000 people accessing the Christmas market.

"Is that structure able to cope with that load-bearing should those numbers be replicated? Does it take into account the weight of the goods that will be there as well? We need reassurances in that regard."

Image caption The scaffolding is balancing on a steep slope

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: "The latest stage is that a building warrant application has been submitted and is currently being assessed.

"The application includes an SER certificate from an approved certifier of design of building structures, which demonstrates compliance with the regulations."

Underbelly has also moved to reassure the public that the necessary steps will be taken to ensure the market structure is safe before it is opened to the public.

A spokeswoman said: "The structure in East Princes Street Gardens is safe.

"The design has been signed off and certified by independent engineers who have issued an SER certificate, and it has also been agreed by the council's engineers.

"It has been designed in accordance with the appropriate codes to comfortably accommodate the capacities expected by Edinburgh's Christmas through its busiest periods and in all weathers.

"The installation is also subject to a building warrant and is therefore compliant with the Building (Scotland) Regulations."

Image copyright Serena Field
Image caption A huge scaffolding structure is being built to house the Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites