An MSP has called for privately owned gardens in public areas around Edinburgh to be opened up during the Covid-19 crisis.
A number of exclusive communal green spaces are dotted around the capital’s wealthy New Town and are only accessible to nearby residents.
Committees that oversee the running of these gardens have now been asked to consider opening them up to increase the number of parks available for the public to use for exercise while social distancing.
Green MSP Andy Wightman said: “The current situation is a difficult time for everyone and access to green space is vital for people’s physical and mental health.
“It is frustrating to see large locked private gardens like this in otherwise public spaces during the lockdown, especially when so many people live without access to a private garden and our parks can get busy.
“There is a long-standing debate about whether these gardens should be opened up to the public during the summer, for example, and I would encourage the owners to consider the positive contribution they could make by opening these garden spaces up during lockdown.”
Residents typically pay an annual fee for maintenance of the gardens and have to apply to gain a key for access.
Several of the green spaces lay empty on Saturday and Sunday afternoon while others had just a small number of visitors.
Locations include Dean Gardens, Lord Moray’s Feu, Regent Gardens and the Queen Street Gardens.
They are a series of late 18th and 19th-century green spaces.
The categorisation of these communal areas as gardens means key holders can use them for activities such as sunbathing or picnics, which are not permissible in public parks under coronavirus restrictions.