This item was first posted in November 2019.
A major controversy has developed in Edinburgh over a huge development that was allowed to go ahead in the World Heritage Site without planning permission.
The London-based event organisers Underbelly have a contract with Edinburgh’s city council who are paying them a reported £800,000 to stage a Christmas Market and a series of events around the celebration of New Year, “Edinburgh Hogmanay”. Construction work began in mid-October, decking over the main public park in the centre of the city. The scale of the development should have required a 12 week public consultation followed by a formal planning application, but the consultation did not begin until AFTER the development went ahead, and only then because the Cockburn Association (of which I am the Chairperson) exposed the lack of planning permission.
Behind this scandal lie a wider set of questions about the costs and benefits of a mindset amongst local and national politiicans and council officials that has prioritised economic growth over urban conservation and an inclusive city. I have explored these issues in a series of articles in The Scotsman, the morning newspaper in this part of the world. The extent and drivers of the growth 2009-2019 are discussed if you click on this link. To see my speculations on what might happen 2020-2030 click here. For my article on the unauthorised development that was ignored by the planners click here.