ORGANISERS of the All Under One Banner march and rally for independence in Edinburgh are facing a major crisis after Historic Environment Scotland (HES) refused them the use of Holyrood Park.

The non-departmental public body which manages the park informed AUOB on Monday that the rally segment of the event could not take place in Holyrood Park as it would be political in nature.

The AUOB organisers are appealing for a change of heart on safety grounds as the route from Edinburgh castle to Holyrood has already been agreed by Police Scotland and Edinburgh Council and there is no other venue near there that can accommodate the 35,000 people expected to turn out on Saturday, October 6.

Yes DIY: Holyrood Park refusal stuns AUOB march organisers

AUOB have asked their followers on Facebook to protest against HES’s decision saying that it discriminates against the group as the recent Processions rally was “political in nature”.

The march and rally’s named organiser, Gary Kelly of AUOB, said: “We are an avowedly non-party political organisation, and though we obviously campaign for independence, surely we have as much right as anyone to use on a very temporary basis what is, after all, the land of the sovereign people of Scotland.”

HES told AUOB in an email: "As a non-departmental public body Historic Environment Scotland must remain politically neutral at all times and would therefore not permit an event of the nature that has been described to take place on one of our Properties in Care (PiC), in this case Holyrood Park.

"Unfortunately we must turn down political events of any stripe and your event would fall into this category.

"Historic Environment Scotland is willing to accommodate the part of your march that would use our road network between Horse Wynd through to Holyrood Gait, however any staging, branding and other static presence would have to be placed off the PiC area. I have attached a plan that shows the delineation of our PiC.

"I hope you can consider an alternative option for your event, and please let me know if you would like any further information from us."

A spokesperson for HES commented: “We received an application from All Under One Banner to set up stalls within Holyrood Park as part of their March for Independence.

“As a non-departmental public body, Historic Environment Scotland must remain politically neutral at all times and we do not permit political events of any nature to take place within our Properties in Care. On this basis, we have not granted permission for this element of the event to take place on the Property in Care. As is our normal practice we will accommodate the request to march on the road network within the Park between Horse Wynd through to Holyrood Gait for public safety reasons.”