Assembly Rooms renovation welcomed by business chiefs

BUSINESS leaders in the Capital have welcomed plans to create shops and a restaurant on the ground floor of a refurbished Assembly Rooms.

The George Street venue is closed for 18 months to allow the 9.3 million scheme to go ahead, despite a campaign organised by Assembly Theatre, the firm that runs a Fringe venue from the building.

Joshua Miller, of the George Street Association, said: "It is a fantastic venue when used. The rest of the year however, we support the opportunity to have more events, create more retail space and retain the majority of performance space upstairs."

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Lesley Williams, of the Edinburgh Convention Bureau, said: "For the 400 to 600 delegate market, facilities in Edinburgh are limited. Once the EICC is booked, there are no mid to large venues in the city centre.

"By having a newly refurbished Assembly Rooms as part of Edinburgh's cultural offering, we feel it is essential in maintaining Edinburgh's reputation as a conference city."