Underbelly set to submit 2019 Edinburgh Christmas Market planning application 'very soon'

The Christmas Market was subject to fierce criticism over the winter.

Edinburgh's Christmas Market was surrounded by controversy in 2019.

Underbelly is set to submit the planning application for last year’s scandal-hit Christmas Market in the coming days, the Evening News understands.

The entertainment company was hit by months of criticism after it emerged the scaffold structure built in East Princes Street Gardens to support the market did not have planning permission.

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The structure, which began being built in October 2019, was dubbed the ‘space deck’ by critics.

Underbelly still does not have planning permission for last year's Christmas Market.

Nearly five months after the market opened on November 16, the structure still does not have planning permission.

However, the Evening News understands that a full planning application is due to be submitted “very soon” following the final stages of an Environmental Impact Assessment, requested by Edinburgh City Council which caused the delay.

The assessment will look at the positive and negative impact of the structure, including impact on flora and fauna as well as human health and socio-economic impact.

East Princes Street Gardens is still recovering from the impact of the scaffolding which left the gardens looking like a mud-bath. The council’s attempts to reinstate the gardens have also been hampered by poor weather.

Once submitted, the planning application will be scrutinised by officers and the public will have the chance to comment.

Due to its status as a major application, it is unlikely to be approved or refused until after the COVID-19 crisis is finished.

All planning applications are being dealt with by the chief planning officer in consultation with the convener and vice-convener, with the exception of major applications.

In February, the Evening News reported how Underbelly’s director threatened to cancel Edinburgh’s Christmas Market and Hogmanay three times as tense negotiations over the so-called ‘space deck’ endangered the Capital’s festive celebrations.

There has also been no release of profits and financial benefits to the city from the market, despite promises from Underbelly that the information would be released in March when the council reported on their success.

However, the cancellation of public council meetings due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis saw the meeting in which this was likely to happen cancelled.

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