Christmas market pop-up bar with glasshouse and tipis would 'steal local trade' claim residents

Edinburgh locals are up in arms over plans from a Lancaster company to build a glass beer hall, two bars and a food truck area on the roof of Waverly Mall as part of a ‘pop-up’ event this Christmas. Residents have said that the planning application for a rooftop Nordic-themed pop-up bar and event space will compete with the local hospitality industry, which has suffered under Covid-19 this year. Plans submitted to the council say Thor’s Bars Ltd. were invited back by the mall’s owners after appearing in 2019 – and this year they plan to expand their operations.

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Thor’s plans call for a glasshouse with a bar inside as well as a second area on the mall rooftop with teepees covering a second bar and food trucks.

The owners say they will employ 60 local staff and stock local food and drink at the pop-up, which would run from 21 September 2020 and 10 January 2021 (trading from 7 October-3 January). While some might wonder what a Nordic glass house and teepees has to do with Edinburgh, the company offered a reassurance in the planning document, saying: “Styling will play a key role in our decoration, reminding people they are in Scotland, with tartan, log fires and a whisky menu.”

Thor’s said the glass house had been designed to compliment nearby Waverley Station

The organisers also said the impact of the glasshouse and teepees on the world heritage city centre wold be ‘negligible’ with stone-coloured teepees and the glasshouse sporting “a roofline that echoes the architectural design of the neighbouring train station”. But not everyone was convinced, some locals took issue with the aesthetics of the pop-up, while others said it would harm local pubs and caf?s already struggling after a disastrous year thanks to the pandemic.

The Tipi’s ‘stone’ colour would help them blend in, plans say

One commenter on Twitter said: “Why import this when there are excellent pubs in the area who have been adversely affected by lockdown and could do with a boost to trade?”

He added: “Rather be having the prawn/chorizo tagliatelle in the Caf? Royal than anything this can offer.” While another said: “The hospitality industry has had such a tough time this year, the last thing they need are pop ups stealing their trade.

Time for the council to stand up for full time Edinburgh businesses.” The news comes after five city-centre community councils wrote to Edinburgh Council saying organisers should scrap food and drink stalls at this year’s event to avoid damaging local businesses. A letter, signed by five city-centre community councils says: “Since public protection will be best served by scaling down the market, at which 67% of outlets in 2019 were non-local, it seems clear that reductions are needed for 2020 in the number, as well as the proportion, of non-local exhibitors.

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Should Thor’s pop-up bar be allowed in the city centre?

0+ VOTES SO FAR

Yes – pop up bars and stalls are part of the fun of Christmas.

No – that money should go to local pubs and cafes.

“In particular, there should be no pop-up bars and food outlets, especially as these create direct competition, not additionality, to local all-year round businesses such as bars and cafes.”

The letter called the last two Christmas markets a “debacle” which had “seriously damaged the trust of many residents in both the Council and Underbelly”.

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