RBS pulls out of Edinburgh Doors Open Day due to security risks


By Amanda MacMillan

ROYAL Bank of Scotland bosses have been forced to slam shut plans to take part in Edinburgh’s prestigious Doors Open Day this weekend – for fear protestors would hijack their HQ.

The sprawling RBS campus at Gogarburn was supposed to be among a host of buildings taking part in the annual project which lets the public behind the walls of well known property.

Now in its 20th year the event gives people the chance to explore some of the city’s most architecturally, culturally and socially significant buildings including the Usher Hall, Burns Monument and City Chambers.

But fears protestors could take advantage just weeks after climate change activists lay siege to the site have prompted their withdrawal.

An RBS spokesperson confirmed: “We were very much looking forward to opening our doors to the Edinburgh community. 

“Unfortunately it looked like some people were planning to take advantage of our openness to cause trouble, meaning extra hassle for the event organisers and the police. 

“We hope to be able to take part in the future.”

No further specifics were given, however staff have only recently cleaned up after climate change activists laid siege to the building last month.

Hundreds of protestors from Climate Camp set up tents and lobbed missiles at police and the building while targeting other premises in the city, causing a weekend of chaos for staff and local residents.

Several people were arrested and Lothian and Borders Police became embroiled in a major row after they alleged protestors had targeted a busy road with an oil like substance, something vigorously denied by camp leaders.

Lothian and Borders Police said they were unable to provide a comment about the situation.

Disappointed organisers said they fully understood bank bosses had to put security before the event if there was any risk.

A spokesperson for The Cockburn Association said: “Edinburgh Doors Open Day were very pleased to have had the RBS Gogarburn Campus on the programme for the first time this year.

“However acting on the advice of the authorities, RBS has had to withdraw due to security risks.

“Whilst it is unfortunate that this local community event has been disrupted, clearly the first priority for RBS has to be the safety of employees and members of the public.

“The 76 other great properties in the scheme will be open as advertised.”

Doors Open Day offers visitors free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entry fee.

All venues feature behind the scenes tours, activities, exhibitions and/or talks which bring the history of the building and its everyday use to life. 

Many sites organise additional free activities for children and families.

The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh also had to pull out of the event on Sunday because of an ‘unforseen’ clash in scheduling.

More information about all sites involved in the Doors Open Day can be found at www.doorsopendays.org.uk