Edinburgh's Charlotte Square development to allow more public events

City centre managers are in talks with the proprietors of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh about opening up regular access to its private gardens.

The space is normally only accessible to the public during the Edinburgh International Book Festival, but is then rendered almost unusable because of the damage caused by the event, The Scotsman reports.

A major makeover of the garden to make it suitable for hosting events throughout the year is part of an emerging long-term vision for the square.

The project, expected to cost up to £1 million, would involve new floral displays and pathways through the garden, creating paved areas where large marquees could be installed, installing power supplies and improving its drainage systems and soil structure.

Willie Gray Muir, managing director of Sundial Properties, one of the Charlotte Square owners, told the paper: "We’re very supportive of the book festival and think it’s a fantastic use of the square. It’s allowed the festival to become one of the really major events for the city. We don’t charge them anything, we just hand the site over to them each year. But there is an issue as it takes a very heavy toll on the garden.

"It’s a problem, but it’s one we want to solve. It’s not the proprietors that are preventing other uses, it is the fact that the book festival does an enormous amount of damage to the ground. It’s almost unusable for the rest of the year as it needs the time to recover.

"We’d very much like to have the ability to put things up and down quicker, and have infrastructure installed so it could be used in other ways, for other sorts of events, and to give other people the chance to use it. We’re talking about controlled, but regular access."

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