Major boost for Edinburgh as developer commits to invest in new Digital Quarter
• New commercial and residential development using innovative green tech on 30ha brownfield site
• 2,500 homes, 6,600 jobs & more than 1m sq. ft of commercial space
• Net zero carbon development • A Digital Quarter to support start-ups, growing & global tech firms
• New public park, ‘Raingarden corridor’ & dedicated cycleways part of sustainability commitment
• £460m annual benefit to Scottish economy
A proposal for a major new housing and commercial development in Edinburgh, which would regenerate a disused site and generate thousands of jobs, has been submitted to City of Edinburgh Council.
Elements Edinburgh will be a sustainable, inclusive, net zero carbon development using the latest in green technology to build 2500 homes and 1,020,000 sq. ft of commercial space including a dedicated Digital Quarter, hotels and retail units.
More than 40% of the 30.4 hectare site will be dedicated green and public space with an informal park opening up access to the Gogar Burn. Active travel including dedicated cycleways and pathways will take priority, housing will be built to exacting new green standards and there will be a commitment to use innovative ways of generating energy and reducing waste.
Crosswind Developments, the company behind the development, say the commitment to proceed with the investment is a huge vote of confidence in Edinburgh’s future as the city looks to rebuild its economy following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan for a “Live-Work”
environment at Elements Edinburgh focussing on inclusive sectors such as the digital economy, emerging technologies, and skills development as well as creating new green space, emerged following extensive consultation with local communities.
Crosswind was set up to breathe new life into a disused, brownfield site around a decommissioned runway at Edinburgh Airport taking on board the City of Edinburgh & Scottish Government’s ambitions for a greener, more balanced Scottish economy.
A report by BiGGAR Economics predicts the development could boost Scotland’s GVA (Gross Value Added) by £460m per year and support 6600 jobs.
“The impact of coronavirus has been severe both in terms of public health and economic damage however we remain confident in the long term economic future of both Edinburgh & Scotland which is why we are pressing ahead with this important development,” said Crosswind chief executive John Watson.
“We have adapted our original plans, which already included many aspects of sustainability and inclusion, to ensure that Elements Edinburgh will be an exemplar for similar developments as we move to new ways of living and working.
”This is a significant commitment to invest in the Scottish economy at a crucial time ”
Architects Corstorphine + Wright say the principle behind the plans for Elements Edinburgh is to build a “sense of place” with blended living and working areas and significant open space. At its heart will be a Digital Quarter, home to tech start-ups and growing digital companies. The site is one of the best connected in Scotland with first class rail, road and air connections making it an attractive Scottish base for international firms.
The overall design concept is centred on the Elements Hub including a vehicle-free public piazza at its heart which provides a high-quality public realm creating a civic centre and gathering place.
Active travel will be prioritised over private car use through an extensive network of paths and cycleways linking all parts of the site and beyond its boundaries. The development will support an inter-generational community with both living and working spaces fully adaptable and open spaces designed to be accessible by all
Charles Bell, of Corstorphine + Wright, said the vision for Elements Edinburgh took into consideration the need to adapt to the impact of coronavirus on society which will require
residents, businesses and employees to do things differently.
“Elements Edinburgh will be designed to give employees and businesses a working and living environment that is flexible, responsive and reduces commute or travel to work times. The introduction of local amenities allows people to remain within the local community but still retain connectivity to existing active travel networks.
“The hub and spoke design of Elements Edinburgh allows inclusive access, enabling greater mobility and accessibility for a wide range of people of all ages including those with specialist needs and access requirements.”
The Digital Quarter, which aims to bring together academia, start-ups and growing tech companies, would be a natural extension of Edinburgh’s “innovation corridor’.
The technology sector is forecast to be one of Scotland’s fastest growing and Edinburgh is already home to almost a quarter of Scotland’s technology firms.
Office spaces will be adaptable: flexible enough to enable upscaling as companies grow, inter-connected to foster collaboration and networking.
An application for planning permission in principle (PPiP) has been submitted to City of Edinburgh Council and is awaiting validation.