BUSINESSES across the Capital today threw their weight behind Edinburgh’s bid to host a vast new athletics village which would train the Scottish sport stars of the future.
The city is competing with Stirling and Dundee to become the home of the £25 million National Performance Centre for Sport.
Now members of the Edinburgh Business Forum, which includes Harvey Nichols, Morton Fraser and the National Galleries of Scotland, have all given their backing to the bid spearheaded by Heriot-Watt University and the city council.
They said the centre would bring “significant” benefits to the Capital.
In a letter of support, forum chairman Hugh Rutherford said: “With its fantastic quality of life, four world-renowned universities, excellent transport infrastructure and an enviable, accessible location in Scotland’s central belt, Edinburgh presents a unique, attractive and highly competitive internationally recognised location for a facility of such national importance.
“The willingness of the council to commit resources to this project is, we believe, hugely beneficial to the successful delivery of this facility.
“We can see the significant benefits that such a facility will bring not only to Edinburgh, but to Scotland as a whole.”
The bid was also backed by Edinburgh’s further and higher education sector, as all universities and colleges in Edinburgh pledged their support to Heriot-Watt and the council.
Professor Steve Chapman, principal of the university, said: “It’s tremendous that the business community as well as other higher education institutions are supporting our bid.
“Heriot-Watt has a strong tradition of supporting performance sport through the development of world-class facilities and a dedicated team of sporting professionals. Our desire is to create an inspirational, world-class sporting facility that will help our athletes to compete successfully on the world stage.”
The Edinburgh bid has already won the support of Olympic icon Sir Chris Hoy and 22 MSPs.
City culture and sport convener Richard Lewis also welcomed the business support. He said: “It is clear that the people of Edinburgh are really coming out in support of our bid for the National Performance Centre for Sport. Having such strong backing from the local business community is of key importance as the NPCS will bring significant benefits to the local economy.
“I’d like to thank the Edinburgh Business Forum for coming on board and playing their part in helping to bring the National Performance Centre for Sport to Edinburgh.”
The facility is intended to provide Scotland’s top sports men and women with the facilities, programmes and services that will enable them to excel on the international stage. A decision on the location is expected in late summer. Heriot-Watt already has a strong sports science programme and close links to community clubs, as well as a number of national organisations including Scottish Squash and Racketball.