Royal Mile tourist shops told to pipe down by neighbours

SHOPPERS are being urged to boycott stores blasting bagpipe music out on to the Royal Mile after neighbours complained about the "constant whine".

A series of anonymous notes have appeared on the Canongate asking people not to spend their money in the offending shops.

Neighbours say they can't open their windows to enjoy the sunny weather due to the endless stream of loud music.

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Marie Hamilton, a 39-year-old secretary, who lives in the Canongate, said she was coming to the end of her tether.

"If I hear Highland Cathedral one more time I think I'll scream," she said.

Several stores on the Royal Mile have speakers pointing out into the street, playing bagpipe and other traditional Scottish music.

The owners of the gift shops today defended the practice, saying it was an important part of promoting their wares and denied the music was too loud.

The signs, which have been posted up around the Canongate, bear tartan ribbons and state: "This music is really annoying for residents in the area who have to listen to the constant whine all day, everyday, even Sundays.

"Many residents are not able to open their windows because of this nuisance."

Several of the signs have been put up near the newly opened gift shop, The Best Fae Scotland, and the longer established Neannie Scott's souvenir shop.

Ms Hamilton, who lives near the stores, said: "The shops have music on a loop constantly and it gets really annoying.

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"I want to have my windows open in the good weather we've been having, but it's just impossible without all the irritating music coming in.

"Sometimes I can even hear it when the windows are closed. I just don't see why they need to have it so loud."

Another resident, who lives in the same tenement block as Neannie Scott's, said she found it difficult to concentrate when working because the music outside both shops was so loud.

She said: "Even watching television is difficult at times because of the noise.

" Old Town Councillor Bill Cunningham said he was aware of the problem and the council would act against any shops playing music at unreasonably loud levels.

He said: "There are a lot of these types of shops competing with one another, so they are trying to draw in business by playing louder music. We won't tolerate them disturbing the local community with extra loud music."

But David Singh, owner of The Best Fae Scotland, said: "This is a tourist stretch and the music attracts customers to the shop and helps to get them to walk in.

"There are other shops on the Royal Mile and Princes Street that do play music too loud and that would put people off coming in.

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"We opened here two weeks ago and have had no complaints. If anyone did come in [to complain] we would be sympathetic and make sure it was turned down."

The owner of Neannie Scott's, who would not give her name, said: "This problem is a recent development with new retailers. I've discussed this issue with residents and I know it is not fair to inflict high levels of noise.

"I've liaised with environmental health and I am not contravening any environmental health issues."

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