Parks and the Public Realm

I have written a piece in the Guardian Edinburgh blog today about the Taste of Edinburgh food festival taking over Inverleith Park.

A huge fence has been erected around the park denying the public access. On Friday, I wrote to the Chief Executive of Edinburgh Council

as follows.

Dear Mr Aitchison,

Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

I am writing to you to ask that you take action in fulfilment of your duties under Section 13 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act) to “assert, keep open and free from obstruction or encroachment any route, waterway or other means by which access rights may reasonably be exercised”

This afternoon, I observed a number of people, lorries and equipment in the south east corner of Inverleith Park. A high steel fence has been erected around most of this area of the park preventing the large number of members of the public from exercising their rights of access..

The land enclosed is land over which access rights as defined in Section 1 of the Act apply.

I am unaware of any statutory grounds for blocking public access to this land. In particular, I am unaware of any exemption under Section 11 of the Act.

As a matter of urgency, could you please use your powers under Section 13 (3) of the Act to remove these obstructions.

I reserve the right to take whatever further action I deem appropriate to uphold the public right of access to Inverleith Park.

Please confirm receipt of this email and provide an early indication of your intention to carry out the duties required of the City of Edinburgh Council under Section 13 of the Act.

yours etc.

Andy Wightman

My email has been acknowledged. The Council is consulting its lawyers and I await a reply.