Scaffold structure of the Edinburgh Christmas Market

Organiser’s triple threat to cancel Edinburgh Christmas Market

Correspondence obtained by the Evening News lays bare the fraying relationship between Edinburgh City Council and Underbelly

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.

Emails and letters obtained by the Evening News paint a picture of Edinburgh City Council and Underbelly facing significant internal and external pressure with relationships beginning to strain to “breaking point” as the scandal which rocked both organisations took hold.

They also lay bare Underbelly’s concerns about the potential loss of their Hogmanay headliner Mark Ronson, the impact of National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) works on the events, and over environmental concerns highlighted by the council, with director Charlie Wood in one exchange describing them as “cr*p”.

Correspondence shows Mr Wood threatened the council with the cancellation of the Christmas Market and Hogmanay three times in 2019 in May, June and November last year, the last just ten days before the market was due to open.

They also lay bare Underbelly’s concerns about the potential loss of their Hogmanay headliner Mark Ronson, the impact of National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) works on the events, and over environmental concerns highlighted by the council, with director Charlie Wood in one exchange describing them as “cr*p”.

Ed Bartlam (left) and Charlie Wood (right), directors of events company Underbelly

Correspondence shows Mr Wood threatened the council with the cancellation of the Christmas Market and Hogmanay three times in 2019 in May, June and November last year, the last just ten days before the market was due to open.

In one response, one of Edinburgh City Council’s most powerful officials Paul Lawrence hit back, saying the council could not “be in that place” and that emails sent by Mr Wood “come across as threats”.

Underbelly still do not have planning permission for the Christmas Market and any application is unlikely to be determined until the Spring.

The events company said they had been asking the council for clarification over the arrangements for the market being impacted by the NGS works for more than four years and that the emails were stating the reality of the situation if the council did not act.

It added the emails “simply laid down the financial, logistical and operational facts” which otherwise would have led to the cancellation of the events.

Mr Wood declined to comment further on the emails.

Edinburgh council’s vice convener for Culture and Communities, councillor Amy McNeese-Meechan, said the correspondence shows that the council’s main priority was public safety, but council leader Adam McVey declined to comment when asked by the Evening News…

visit Edinburgh Evening News to read full story

Related posts