The boss of a controversial events organiser which came under fire for a ‘mudbath’ Christmas market in Edinburgh threatened to pull the plug on it ten days before it opened.

In a series of fraught emails exchanged between the boss of Underbelly and City of Edinburgh Council the company’s director Charlie Woods threatened to cancel the market on three occasions.

He was accused of making ‘threats’ by a senior figure at the local authority, and Mr Woods described concerns raised about the environment as ‘crap’.

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Emails and letters obtained by the Edinburgh Evening News through freedom of information laws showed a strained relationship which began over elevated decking at the Christmas Market.

Mr Woods threatened to axe the market and Hogmanay celebrations ten days before doors opened, and sent an email branding city council concerns ‘crap’ on November 6.

The market opened on November 16, and welcomed more than 2.6 million visitors until it closed - although many residents were furious over the damage to Princes Street Gardens.

In November, senior council official had raised concerns about ‘protected trees’ - sparking a vocal response from Mr Woods, who previously threatened to axe the event in May and June as tensions built over construction work on the National Gallery for Scotland (NGS).

In a heated email sent on November 6, Mr Woods wrote: “The c**p about stalls 77 to 89 which are nothing to do with the NGS works, nothing about the building warrant, which have been there every year since 2014 and have been on the site plan all year needs to be resolved.

“They were approved by you in June and October.

“We have no option but to build them.”

He added: “We urgently need the Council’s support or there is a real risk of no event and no Hogmanay.”

Senior council official Paul Lawrence responded, saying ‘’we cannot have installations that impact upon the trees/natural environment’.

In an email, Mr Lawrence wrote: “I understand the wider implications you suggest.

“The trouble is they come across as threats.”

The events were nodded through at a council meeting on June 18.

But on June 5, tensions had frayed over Hogmanay headliner, DJ Mark Ronson - who Mr Woods feared was going to pull out of the top slot.

Mr Woods wrote: “I know you know this but we simply don’t have this amount of time: we are at heads of terms stage with our headliner, and we have to go to contract on Monday or we will lose him.

“You know who he is and we can’t risk losing him.

“Similarly, we have to confirm terms with the operators and traders for Christmas now or we will not be able to deliver.”

He made the first threat to cancel the events in May.

On May 10, Mr Woods sent a letter to the executive director of place at the council.

He wrote: “I hope you can therefore understand that the council’s proposal - extending Underbelly’s exposure to [redacted] - is neither affordable nor sustainable for us.

“We are consequently unable to deliver Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay under your proposal."

A spokesman for Underbelly said the company had been asking the council for details of how the market would deal with the NGS works for four years.

The spokesman said: “The council eventually asked Underbelly to bring forward a scheme for 2019 in April of last year.

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“The council did not approve this scheme until 12 October, less than a week before we were due to move on site.

“Of course robust conversations have to take place when dealing with matters such as these and our correspondence simply laid down the financial, logistical and operational facts of the festivals at a point in time when it was absolutely necessary to do so, otherwise, we would not have been able to produce the events.

“The outcome was the satisfactory resolution for both parties, and Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay went ahead and were hugely successful.”