Taste of Edinburgh food festival forced to find a new home

ONE of Edinburgh's flagship new festivals is being forced to move location after just two years amid fears a beauty spot is being damaged by playing host to too many events.

Taste of Edinburgh is having to move out of the city centre, from the Meadows, to Inverleith Park, despite being heralded a major success since its launch in 2007.

The four-day event, which is televised by Channel Four, attracted crowds of about 25,000 to the Meadows to sample taster dishes by restaurants in the capital and also to watch some of the UK's leading chefs in action.

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But the festival is among those blamed for extensive damage done to the Meadows over the past couple of years.

Campaigners have demanded the city council scale back the growing number of events held there amid fears long-term damage is being done around the historic park.

A review of the Meadows was ordered by councillors in September after concerns were raised about the number of events held there over the previous few months.

Inverleith Park, which is also owned by the local authority, is rarely used for major events but is being lined up as the council's preferred alternative to the Meadows.

Doubts also surround the use of the Meadows for major Fringe productions.

This year's Fringe Sunday event is already in doubt, although mainly over funding problems.

It is understood the organisers of Taste of Edinburgh were asked to relocate by the council.

Steve Cardownie, the council's festivals and events champion, said: "We are looking at ways of improving the balance of events across the city parks to maintain their beauty while ensuring that Edinburgh continues to offer a fantastic range of top events.

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"Taste of Edinburgh's willingness to move the festival will be of great benefit to the recovery of the Meadows after two particularly wet summers."

He added: "Inverleith Park will be ideal for the festival – it's spacious, easily accessible and will provide a pleasant backdrop for Scotland's premier food event."

Organisers of Taste of Edinburgh insist they are planning a "bigger and better" at Inverleith Park, which will be hosting the event from 28-31 May .

Sarah Forbes, the festival's director, said: "We're looking forward to bringing a fresh flavour to this year's event, welcoming both old and new visitors to enjoy the best that Scotland's larder has to offer.

"We will soon be announcing full details of what this year's Taste of Edinburgh will bring, but we are promising to deliver another fantastic four-day festival, along with a number of new and improved events."

Antony Worrall-Thompson, Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin were among those to appear at Taste of Edinburgh last year.

"Taste" festivals similar to Edinburgh's were staged in four other UK locations last year.

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