Edinburgh's Christmas: Extra work ordered after council inspection

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

image copyrightUnderbelly
image captionThe most popular attraction at Edinburgh's Christmas is the Christmas market

Public safety officers have ordered extra work on Edinburgh's Christmas market following an inspection.

Operator Underbelly has been told to carry out minor snagging work on the market in Princes Street Gardens.

The market, which is due to open at 13:00 on Saturday, will be inspected again before a licence can be granted.

It has now been granted a building warrant which demonstrates that the structure has been completed as per the plans submitted by Underbelly.

Following a council inspection, officers pointed out snagging work that needed to be fixed.

An Edinburgh City Council spokesman said: "Underbelly has been asked to carry out minor snagging works.

"There will be a further inspection on Saturday morning prior to a licence being issued."

An Underbelly spokeswoman said: "The finishing touches are now being put in place at the market and we are looking forward to opening it to the public this weekend."

image captionA huge lattice of scaffolding has been built to house the Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens

Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council leader, said: "Residents want assurances that the gardens are protected and the safety and comfort of all those attending the markets is secured.

"A building warrant has been granted and our public safety officers are carrying out final inspections and checks.

"Please be in no doubt, the site will not open until the council is 100% satisfied that is it safe."

It has been revealed that the market will not have planning permission until after it has closed in January.

The controversial market also did not have planning permission to operate last year.

Internal investigation

Underbelly's approved planning application expired on 10 January 2018 - no application was made to renew the consent in time for last year's event.

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

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.

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

It called on the parties "to look at options" for relocating this year's event to a 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.

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