'Wristbands' for residents as only six people permitted to access homes
City centre residents will need permission from a private company to enter and leave their homes on Hogmanay as those that live in the area closed off for the street party may only be allowed to entertain six people.
The company behind Edinburgh flagship Hogmanay celebrations has moved to reassure city centre residents they can still access their homes – but accreditation passes will be needed.
Underbelly, which is organising the Capital’s Hogmanay street party has told residents that if their property falls within the street party area, which includes Rose Street, Hanover Street and Frederick Street, they will be “entitled to receive up to six resident passes” to access their homes.
But residents may face restrictions on private Hogmanay parties at their homes, with Underbelly warning that “a reasonable number of additional access passes may be issued” in consultation with the event organisers and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The passes do not grant residents access to the street party event.
As well as seeking permission from Underbelly to be able to access their own homes, accredited residents “must wear a valid wristband and carry their access pass at all times”. The passes, handed out by Underbelly, will set out “the location of the closest perimeter gate through which pass-holders should enter/exit the controlled zone”.
The company says that residents can still access their homes and no changes have been made to previous year.
An Underbelly spokesperson said: “Access arrangements for businesses and residential properties within the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay arena are exactly the same as they have been in all previous years.
“As a major city centre event it is necessary for additional security measures to be in place. The measures are set and agreed as appropriate by the multi-agency group, which includes the City of Edinburgh Council and Police Scotland.
“Access to homes is maintained at all times with no cost to businesses or residents, but security is ensured by the pass system.”
An MSP has labelled the restrictions “unacceptable”.
Labour Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack added: “It should not be up to a private company to decide how many people they can have in their homes.
“This means people can not easily hold traditional family get-togethers on Hogmanay.”
But council leader, Cllr Adam McVey, has insisted that residents will be allowed to host more than six people at their properties.
Posting on Twitter, he said: “To be clear, resident access is maintained during Hogmanay and not limited to six.
“Visitor access is not subject to approval and guest passes are available. I’ve spoken to the council director this morning and Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh Christmas will be clarifying guidance ASAP.”
A city centre councillor has called for Underbelly to offer residents free tickets if their homes are caught up in the street party area.
Green Cllr Claire Miller said: “Residents whose homes are in the heart of the city centre deserve better than this. Surely the right thing to do would be offer a complimentary pass to households inside the cordon.”
The council said residents can apply for further access passes if needed.
A council spokesperson said: “Arrangements for access for residents at Hogmanay are just the same as they have been in previous years, and there’s no issue with residents or businesses asking for extra passes if they need more.
“Anyone wanting additional passes just has to ring 0131 526 3797 or e-mail email@example.com.”