COUNCIL bosses have said that they are trying to discourage ticket touts and those who have an “entrepreneurial spirit” after residents living within Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations were asked to pay £15-a-head if they want to hold private parties in their homes.
Up to six free tickets have been allocated to local residents to allow family and friends to access their houses on New Year’s Eve.
But homeowners around Princes Street were sent letters saying that if they are to have more than six guests they would have to pay a £15 administration fee for each one.
Councillor Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion for the City of Edinburgh, has said that the letters are to discourage people making money from tickets and that each case would be judged individually.
He added: “This is to prevent potentially people saying that they are having a party that night and they’ve got 50 guests and they’ve got a one bedroom flat in Rose Street and therefore getting 50 tickets.
“Obviously there is something suspicious about it so it’s to try to discourage that type of activity if it were to exist.
“I think if someone was to say they were having people around their house and it was a reasonable request that didn’t arouse suspicion then I think it would be dealt with sympathetically.
“But there are some people out there, shall we say, who have an entrepreneurial spirit who might decide there is an option here for them to make some money on the side and might say they are having a party and I’ve got 30 guests.
“If it’s not feasible then I’m quite sure, and I hope, that the organisers would ask questions about the kind of party that they are putting on.
“Unfortunately we’ve seen tickets being touted on the internet, as soon as they were out on sale they were on the internet as you would expect. That’s because we are a victim of our own success.
“Other people might recognise that there is an opportunity there to get tickets free for the event and all we are trying to do is discourage that.”
This is the 18th year Edinburgh has hosted its famous street party and this year top acts including Biffy Clyro and The Charlatans are taking to the stage.
But the 80,000 revellers have been warned to stay safe and keep warm as well as having an enjoyable night.
Assistant Chief Constable Mike McCormick, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: “We have about 330 officers covering the Hogmanay event.
“We want to make sure that everyone enjoys a fun and safe evening this Hogmanay and we have been working with our partners to ensure this happens.
“We will be supported by colleagues from Group 4 Security (G4S) who are going to have about 450 stewards – so plenty of people there to keep the area safe and look after people.”
Assistant Chief Constable McCormick added that no glass is allowed into the arena and reminded party goers that once you enter, you will not be able to get back in if you leave.
Bags may also be searched on entry and revellers were asked to arrange a meeting point to meet any friends and family if they got lost.
And David Farquharson, medical director at NHS Lothian, encouraged people to wrap up warm and wear sensible footwear.
He added: “One important point is that if you are taking alcohol it’ll tend to lower your blood temperature and make you more susceptible to the cold so please wrap up warm.
“Don’t let excessive alcohol result in a trip to A&E. It is crucial that these services are available for those who really require them.
“If you suffer a minor injury on the night, you can be treated in the Minor Injuries Clinic at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.”
The message to wrap up warm was echoed by Jim Watson, public weather service advisor for the Met Office.
He said: “The forecast is looking good for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. It should stay predominantly dry but cloudy, with temperatures staying above zero and a light, easterly wind.
“The chill factor will make it feel around zero so people should certainly wrap up. But it looks as if it should be quite good as we go through the midnight period.
“Later on into New Year’s morning at the moment we are looking at a bout of rain coming down from the North and on the back edge of that it could turn to snow for a very short period.
But Mr Watson assured that fog was not set to ruin the sight of the fireworks.
“We have got fog at the moment in Edinburgh but as we get into Friday and across Friday evening there is a little bit of wind that picks up and that should be enough to keep the capital free of fog for midnight.”
Tickets for the Concert in the Gardens and The Keilidh have all been snapped up but tickets are still available for the Street Party and those wishing to attended are asked to get a ticket quickly as they are selling fast.
Tickets are available by visiting the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Box Office at The Hub or by going to www.edinburghshogmanay.com or by phoning 0844 894 2011.