Parks events review builds on public opinion

A review of the way events in parks are managed will change the process for park users and event organisers.

Elected members voted in favour of recommendations in the Events in Edinburgh's Parks and Greenspaces report at today's Transport and Environment Committee

Changes to the Edinburgh Parks Events Manifesto include the length of time events can be held on the Meadows and the minimum period of turf rest between each event.

The review follows lengthy consultation with stakeholders like Friends of Parks groups and major events organisers. 

The Manifesto, which has been in place for four years, aims to maintain the balance between the conservation of the city’s world-class parks and green spaces and the capital’s vibrant programme of events. 

A review of Edinburgh’s major events suggested that, while there is value in the guidelines on event numbers, locations and operational practices, further improvements could be made. 

A public consultation received more than 600 responses from Friends of Parks groups, community groups, event organisers, businesses and members of the public identifying improvements that could be made to the framework. 

One of the main areas of interest was the number of days of occupation for an event, currently 15 days for most parks, with particular concern around the Meadows, where the time is extended to four weeks to accommodate events during the Fringe. Respondents referenced noise, drainage and damage to grass amongst problems.  

Participants also commented on the period of turf rest between each event, with strong support for extending this from two weeks, while the majority of respondents thought the number of private events held in parks should be limited. 

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee approved recommendations for improving the Edinburgh Parks Events Manifesto based on the results of the consultation.  

These include limiting the period for events on the Meadows to 23 days, excluding set up and take down operations, allowing applications out with this timescale to be considered on their individual merits. In addition, the Council will expect an increased financial return on the use of this space, with any additional income to be invested in the maintenance and development of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links. 

Other recommendations are the extension of the minimum turf rest period from two to four weeks and the development of an assessment process that takes into account the impact of a proposed event on a location’s environmental and historical features, sporting and recreational use and neighbourhood amenity. 

Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We have carefully considered feedback from the consultation to make these recommendations, which I believe will help to strike an appropriate balance between taking care of our award-winning parks and promoting the city’s major events. 

“We recognise the challenge in situations like that of the Meadows, but this Manifesto aims take into account the views of park users, event organisers, sports clubs and any other interested parties to make our green spaces as accessible as possible for everyone.” 

Further details of the recommended changes to the manifesto are available in the full report.

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