'Digital Quarter' on old runway at Edinburgh airport could create thousands of jobs

Thousands of jobs could be created by the development of a new ‘Digital Quarter’ at a decommissioned runway site near Edinburgh airport, a report has revealed.

Digital Quarter's proposed 'green corridor' at disused runway at Edinburgh airport.

New analysis on the potential economic impact of proposals by Crosswind Developments to transform the 65-acre brownfield site shows over 6,000 jobs - including 4,800 high-value technology jobs- could be provided by the development, supporting £438m of gross valued added (GVA) - a measure of economic output - in Scotland.

Thousands of jobs and affordable housing

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As well as the digital quarter, as part of 700,000 square feet of office space, the development on the Edinburgh Elements site will include retails units, hotels and 2,400 homes - 25 per cent of which will be affordable housing.

Approximately 14 acres of the site will be a green space which will include a new informal park complete with a ‘rain garden’ water feature around the Gogar Burn, with a green corridor. Car use will be minimised by focusing on the provision of cycling and walking.

Crosswinds Development is an independent subsidiary of Edinburgh airport’s owners Global Infrastructure Partners. The land is owned by Crosswind.

BiGGAR Economics’ report examined the potential benefit to Scotland in attracting technology jobs while giving home grown companies greater opportunities for collaboration.

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The report also says by expanding the provision of facilities for digital companies and boosting Edinburgh’s stand as a digital city could also provide a positive impact on non-digital sectors playing an important role in the city economy, including financial services and life sciences.

"We are determined Elements Edinburgh will be an innovative, sustainable and inclusive development with the environment at its heart." - John Watson, chief executive of Crosswind Development

Welcoming the report, John Watson, chief executive of Crosswind Development, said: “This confirms our belief that a dedicated digital quarter within Elements Edinburgh would be as significant boost to not just the city but the whole Scottish economy.

“And many of the companies that would benefit are ones that are already well established but are becoming increasingly digital focused such as financial services.

“We are also determined Elements Edinburgh will be an innovative, sustainable and inclusive development with the environment at its heart.”

Consultation with stakeholders, including the local community, began earlier this year.

A wider public consultation starts next month with an exhibition of site plans at the Gyle shopping centre on 14 and 15 January.