The sense of irritation felt at last weekend's Edinburgh Spa event in St Andrew Square (Breaking news 24.5.10) is apparently part of the wider Edinburgh zeitgeist.
Yesterday, two protesters demanded free admission to the Taste event in Inverleith Park, saying organisers were wrong to demand payment for access to public property. The campaigners declined an invitation to be admitted free as guests, claiming they had a pre-existing right to enter. They were shortly afterwards turned away by police. (See www.guardian.co.uk/edinburgh.)
If and when a case of this kind – where a charge is made for admission to land gifted to the City's citizens as a common good – is tested in court, it will be interesting to see how strenuously the Council defends. Spurtle understands that legal advice (and private opinion among Parks officials) is deeply uneasy about the practice. Councillors say 'events' are an important source of revenue, and must be spread across the city to share benefits and prevent overuse of popular central locations.
Back in January (Issue 178) we reported local residents' disquiet at commercial uses for Calton Hill, and this would appear to be another potential flashpoint on Broughton's doorstep now that the summer wedding season has begun.
Expect more confrontations as the Council somewhat shamelessly bends over backwards to attract further private-sector investment.
For more information visit www.scottishcommons.org.