Root and branch overhaul for Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh
A £40 million project to revamp a huge swathe of one of Edinburgh’s most popular visitor attractions has been unveiled.
The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh has revealed details of a long-awaited blueprint which will bring its historic glasshouses up to modern-day standards.
Less than three years after the opening of its flagship new visitor centre, bosses have published details of a new masterplan to transform the entire north-east quarter of the site, in the Inverleith area.
As well as overhauling several ageing, listed glasshouses dating back to 1834, several new state-of-the-art structures are to be created in a bid to increase visitor numbers to them by 40 per cent.
Some of these new eco-friendly buildings will replace existing research houses which were built in the 1960s and 1970s and were expected to last only 20 years.
The move will mean all of the Botanics’ research facilities being centralised on the one site, although the whole project could take at least five years to complete.
The Botanics are also planning to open a new Scottish School of Botanics and Horticulture on the site, which will offer courses for university and college students as well as classes for school pupils.
Changes to the glasshouses are expected to open up public access to more of the scientific research that is carried out at the site. There will also be new spaces created for corporate hospitality events.
Plans for the overhaul of the glasshouses first emerged in October 2009, just weeks after the opening of the new John Hope Gateway centre at the western gate. It was credited with increasing visitor numbers by more than a third.
The Botanics started life in Edinburgh in the 17th century in the grounds of Holyrood Palace. It has been based on its current site at Inverleith since 1820.
Senior staff at the Botanics, which receives the bulk of its funding from the Scottish Government, have been warning that many of the glasshouses and research houses are both very expensive to run and environmentally unfriendly.
Although the development plans were put on hold a couple of years ago, the government approved a £1.5m grant last month to kick-start the project. Detailed plans are due to be lodged with the council next year.
Professor Stephen Blackmore, Regius Keeper at the Botanics, said: “The masterplan will be one of the most significant developments in our long history, and its development will allow us to secure the garden as a globally recognised scientific, public, education and corporate destination for generations to come.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West