THE second wettest summer on record has led to calls for the Lady Boys of Bangkok to be banned from the Meadows to prevent their equipment and huge crowds of fans causing damage to the Capital’s green space.
City chiefs have been urged to reject a planning application from the group to hold their regular show at the central parkland this August as part of the Edinburgh Festival.
Calls have also been made for the council to improve drainage at the site if more large shows are to be held there.
Parts of the Meadows remain waterlogged after the Capital suffered roughly twice its average rainfall last year for the three months from June to August of 180mm.
High-profile outdoor event Taste of Edinburgh was among those cancelled last year due to the unseasonal weather.
Community groups have now called for a 12-month ban on large-scale events at the Meadows, claiming the site still needs time to recover from last year’s summer rain.
The Meadows and Bruntsfield Links Advisory Group has asked for the site to be given a year off to allow vegetation to recover and for drainage to be improved.
The Lady Boys use the site for four weeks every summer.
They have had to campaign for the right to continue performing at the Meadows, with local groups claiming the acres of green space are left muddy, littered and torn up by the travelling act.
Advisory group chairman Chris Wigglesworth said drainage problems had left the central parkland still sodden, meaning longer events at the site this year would cause more damage than usual.
He said: “We are arguing that there should be more money spent on properly reinstating the original 19th century drainage so that it cannot deteriorate.
“It’s nothing to do with the character of any of the events. It’s the fact that any event with large equipment that lasts a long time leaves a terrible mess behind and really ruins it and for several months afterwards nobody can use the area.”
Friends of the Meadows treasurer Hamish McKenzie echoed the concerns, saying the visiting show’s length should at least be cut to two weeks.
The Lady Boys have said such a restriction would make visiting the Meadows unprofitable.
The council has committed funds in its 2013-14 budget to improve drainage across several green spaces. Work is due to start at Inverleith Park this spring, with options being considered for the Meadows.
City environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said the Meadows played a vital role in supporting the city’s first-class reputation for festivals and events, but added: “We fully recognise that this has to be balanced against the need to protect our parks from long-term damage and these considerations will be taken into account when deciding on this year’s programme of events in the Meadows.”
Fringe cabaret hit
THE world-famous Lady Boys of Bangkok first came to the Capital almost 16 years ago and have since become a mainstay of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Each of the Lady Boy showgirls, who perform a range of musical and cabaret routines, began life as males.
They dress as women and some undergo feminising procedures such as hormone replacement therapy, breast implants, genital reassignment surgery or Adam’s apple reductions.
The act is billed as a “Moulin Rouge experience” cabaret, with a licensed bar and seating at tables.
Organisers did not comment on the Meadows application yesterday.