David Birrell: Help us win the race to house national sport HQ

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This summer, on the back of London Olympic Games and ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Scottish Government is set to decide where to build the National Performance Centre for Sport– Edinburgh, Stirling or Dundee.

The impact this new centre for sporting excellence is going to have on fostering a new generation of Scottish sporting champions will be huge. However, also important are the potential benefits to both the Scottish economy and the city chosen to host to the NPCS.

It would be a fantastic opportunity for Edinburgh. Recent estimates suggest that both the construction and operational phases of building the centre at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus could potentially support 185 Scottish jobs and contribute 
£84 million to the Scottish economy. The direct impact of this to the economy of the wider Edinburgh region would be significant and could bring real benefits to the city and the people that live in it.

Additionally, once it’s built the conference facilities and spectator seating would attract thousands of visitors and sports people from all across the world who would come to the Capital and spend their money in the city’s shops, restaurants and hotels.

As an organisation that works to support the local business community, the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is fully behind Heriot-Watt University and the council’s bid to bring the NPCS to the city.

Edinburgh presents a unique, attractive and highly competitive internationally-recognised location for a facility of such national importance. The site’s excellent proximity to some of the country’s key transport infrastructure links and an enviable location in Scotland’s central belt are something that neither Stirling nor Dundee can rival.

Heriot-Watt University already has a well established sporting programme and an ethos of nurturing talent amongst young sports men and women. Also, the willingness of the council to support and commit funds to this bid will be hugely beneficial for the delivery of a successful facility.

It’s clear that Edinburgh would provide an inspiring home for the National Performance Centre for Sport, and the city is hungry for the knock-on impact it would have on the wider economy of the Edinburgh area. Bringing this national centre to Scotland’s Capital is, in my opinion, the only sensible decision, and I urge everyone to get behind Edinburgh’s bid to bring the national centre to Scotland’s Capital.

You can back the bid and pledge your support at www.goedinburgh2016.com

David Birrell is chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce