Edinburgh's Christmas market given building warrant approval 48 hours before opening - but final safety checks still required

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Controversial plans for this year's Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens have been given the thumbs up by the council's building standards officials - 48 hours before the event is due to open to the public.

Underbelly's event has today received a building warrant from Edinburgh CIty Council, meaning council officials are satisfied the proposals are safe and can open as planned on Saturday.

The Christmas market will open on Saturday.

The Christmas market will open on Saturday.

It comes after organisers moved to reassure the public last week after safety concerns were raised when pictures of piles of plywood supporting scaffolding went viral on social media.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Council to investigate moving Christmas market out of Princes Street Gardens in 2020

However, although objections to the building warrant have been resolved, it’s understood that licensing permission relating to health and safety could go right up to the wire before the market opens on Saturday.

The proposals have not yet received planning permission - and the council has launched an internal investigation into whether the correct processes were followed in handing Underbelly a two-year contract extension. City centre councillors were not informed of the scale of this year's event prior to council officials giving the event the thumbs up under delegated authority.

Underbelly’s Christmas market has been subject to a backlash by councillors and residents on social media as a result of these issues.

It also emerged earlier this week that the local authority will investigate moving the Christmas market out of Princes Street Gardens in 2020, following a heated exchange between council bosses and the event organisers at the culture and communities committee.

During the meeting, one of Underbelly's directors Ed Bartlam told councillors that his company’s flagship Hogmanay events have produced a loss of £322,000 over the last two years – but was unable to say how much surplus the Christmas market brings in after being quizzed by Conservative Cllr Phil Doggart.

Underbelly and the council have been approached for comment.