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Developer commits to Edinburgh digital quarter

19 Aug 20 Crosswinds Development has submitted plans for a scheme in Edinburgh that would include 2,500 homes and more than a million square feet of commercial space.

Elements Edinburgh would regenerate a disused site around a decommissioned runway at the city’s airport. The net-zero-carbon development would incorporate a dedicated Digital Quarter, hotels and retail units.

An application for planning permission in principle has been submitted to City of Edinburgh Council and is awaiting validation.

More than 40% of the 30.4ha 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, said Crosswinds, and housing will be built to new green standards. It has also committed to using innovative ways of generating energy and reducing waste.

Crosswind said 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 focusing 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,” it said.

A report by Biggar Economics predicts the development could boost Scotland’s gross value added (GVA) by £460m per year and support 6,600 jobs.

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“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 and 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.”

Architect Corstorphine & Wright said that 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 overall design concept is centred on the Elements Hub including a vehicle-free public piazza at its heart.

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