A HERITAGE watchdog has said around 700 people have signed up for a meeting over the future of public spaces in the Scottish capital like Princes Street Gardens.

The Cockburn Association is holding the gathering under the "City for Sale?" banner at the Central Hall in Tollcross tonight.

Campaigners called for a rethink in Edinburgh after the Princes Street Gardens were turned into a mudbath after the Christmas market.

More than 2.6 million people visited the controversial market, which was at East Princes Street Gardens for seven weeks.

READ MORE: Anger as gardens left a mudbath by Edinburgh's Christmas market 

It is expected to take up to 14 weeks to have the area returned to public use.

HeraldScotland:

Clear-up operation. Image: Gordon Terris

The Cockburn Association said: "One of the defining issues currently in front of the City of Edinburgh is how we value our public places.

"Should our parks and gardens be an oasis of green-ness and tranquillity, or should they be the city’s performance hubs, the go-to places for happening events and festival activities? 

"There is no doubt that public concern that parks, gardens and other open spaces are increasingly turned over to an expanding event-based tourism sector.

"This year’s Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens caused a storm of controversary when a huge space deck was erected by the city council’s contractors Underbelly without planning consent.

"It emerged yesterday that the reparation works will take 12-14 weeks before public use can be fully restored.  

"This public summit will allow members of the public to raise issues and concerns in front of an expert panel."