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Daily campaign prompts council U-turn on butcher’s mannequin removal

A city daily has saved a butcher’s mannequin nicknamed ‘Fat Bob’ from being removed from a high street after a council ban was introduced.

The Edinburgh Evening News moved to save ‘Bob’, who has stood on Portobello High Street for more than 30 years, after City of Edinburgh Council introduced a blanket ban on shops using on-street advertising.

The council’s initiative aims to make the streets easier for pedestrians and wheelchair users by clearing away clutter from crowded pavements such as advertising A-boards.

As a result, award-winning butchers Findlay’s were told that ‘Bob’, a six-foot high fibreglass mannequin and well-known local landmark, would have to be removed from a point where the pavement is 15ft wide, despite being never been the subject of any known complaints.

The victorious campaign featured on yesterday's EEN front page

The victorious campaign featured on yesterday’s EEN front page

The council initially stuck to their guns, but has now backed down after an outcry from Evening News readers on social media and in the newspaper.

Euan McGrory, deputy editor of the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, told HTFP: “We are all for making the city easier to walk around but Bob was not creating any problems for anyone.

“This was just a case of needless red tape when we should be doing everything we can to support our local high street traders.

“I’m glad that common sense has prevailed for Bob and Findlay’s butchers as well as for other traders who stood to be affected.”

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, the council’s transport and environment convener, said: “Businesses were contacted to provide notification of the forthcoming ban, which applies to on-street advertising structures such as ‘A’ Boards, rather than shop dressing such as this, which we could have advised the business owner should they have approached the council.

“We appreciate that a limited number of this sort of shop dressing structures can add character to local communities, and we are happy to discuss these with business owners.”