Pizza van refused permission to operate on Princes Street during Festival

A company has been refused permission to sell pizzas from a van on Princes Street during the festival after councillors feared it would set a precedent for trading outside historic buildings.

The van will not be able to operate a van during the Fringe
The van will not be able to operate a van during the Fringe

La Favorita, which announced last week it will close two branches in the Capital, applied to the city council for permission to operate a van outside General Register House during August.

Members of the council’s Licensing Sub-Committee rejected the proposals as it does not meet the authority’s policy – while police raised concerns over anti-social behaviour.

Regulatory services manager Andrew Mitchell, said: “Areas around historic buildings should not normally have street trading outside it.

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“The long-standing position of the council has been that this area is not suitable for street trading.”

Alistair Macdonald, representing La Favorita, pleaded with councillors to allow the pizza van to operate at “a part of Princes Street that’s maybe lacking in things like this during the festival”. The business gained the support of General Register House and Essential Edinburgh.

He added: “This is a great site, the pavement is wide and it will not get in the way of pedestrian traffic. We don’t think it will cause any inconvenience.

“There’s not so much going on at that end of Princes Street and our clients feel that would create something in that area. There’s been no objections from the public or the traders.

“We would ask the committee to give this a chance.”

Cllr Gavin Barrie criticised the plans, saying the council should be “protecting these historic buildings”.

He added: “My fear is that if we set a policy and we grant this one, there’s nothing to stop you and anybody else wanting this all year round.

“I know the public don’t particularly want it. I’m not sure for me this is the right location.”

Sergeant John Young from Police Scotland, said the space outside General Register House had been “a significant area of youth disorder” and although the problem had been tackled, the force was concerned anti-social behaviour could flare up again.

Cllr Cameron Rose proposed that the application be granted.

He said: “I don’t think that it’s a precedent that has to be followed.”

But councillors agreed to reject the proposals.

Convener of the committee, Cllr Cathy Fullerton, said: “Regretfully, I propose we don’t grant this licence.

“There’s a precedent against street trading in Princes Street and we have rejected other applications in the past.”

David Bol , Local Democracy Reporting Service