Edinburgh's Christmas: Councillors look into moving next year's market

Image source, Underbelly
Image caption,
The most popular attraction at Edinburgh's Christmas is the Christmas market

Councillors have agreed to investigate potentially moving a controversial Christmas market out of Princes Street Gardens next year.

The Christmas Market is due to open on Saturday if it receives a building warrant for the scaffolding structure.

However it still does not have planning permission and the council is also investigating its contract extension.

Organisers Underbelly said they were "acutely aware" of this year's controversy.

A spokesman said they would reflect on the issues "in detail".

Planning permission is being applied for retrospectively and is expected to be granted by the time the Christmas Market closes in January.

The council has also launched an internal investigation into whether the correct processes were followed in handing over a two-year contract extension to the operator.

Image caption,
A huge lattice of scaffolding has been built to house the Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh City Council's culture and communities committee considered a motion by Green councillor Alex Staniforth, calling to "urgently collaborate" with Underbelly.

It called on the parties "to look at options" for relocating this year's event to hard-standing location in central Edinburgh.

However, councillors instead agreed a Conservative amendment, which would require officials to draw up options for next year's event - including moving the market.

Underbelly director Charlie Wood said: "I wish the process of how Edinburgh's Christmas operates successfully in these gardens had started years ago, rather than essentially starting in March this year.

"I think it's a great regret that has happened."

Donald Wilson, the council's culture and communities convener, said: "We will have a root and branch review of what Edinburgh people want in terms of Christmas and Hogmanay.

"We need to give people options and let people know what's possible.

"There's a clear view that we need to take a close look at what we do going forward. It was our demand that that be the case."

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