Large swathe of Edinburgh green-belt ear-marked for national garden complex

A HUGE swathe of Edinburgh's green belt is earmarked for a 60-acre national garden complex, a sports village boasting a 25,000-capacity stadium and 3,500 new homes.

• An artist's impression of the aerial view of 60-acre, 25 million Calyx project in west Edinburgh. Picture: Complimentary

Scotland's answer to the hugely successful Eden Project, in Cornwall, would be created at the end of the M8 under plans for a 1 billion development being pursued by Rangers owner Sir David Murray's property empire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some 650 jobs would be created in the Hermiston Gait area – close to the Gyle shopping centre and RBS's world headquarters – under a 20-year blueprint revealed yesterday.

The 25 million "Calyx", billed as a world-class horticultural visitor attraction, would boast a string of themed gardens, water features, educational facilities and research facilities. It is expected to attract half a million visitors a year and become one of Scotland's leading tourism attractions.

The concept, spearheaded by Scotland's best-known gardener Jim McColl, the star of the BBC's Beechgrove Garden, has been revived more than two years after a major Lottery bid was rejected for a site on the edge of Perth. Plans for a previous site in Plean, Stirlingshire, had also floundered.

The sports village would feature a major arena capable of housing football, rugby and possible athletics events, while a national curling academy and several sports pitches would also feature. Edinburgh Rugby is already thought to be a contender to use the stadium, earmarked for a site once sought by Heart of Midlothian for a new football ground.

It is being pursued despite plans for a similar development in nearby Sighthill being shelved by Edinburgh City Council several years ago due to funding problems.

Two new primary schools, a high school, community centres, shops and parks would also be built to serve three separate neighbourhoods which are envisaged as part of the development.

Murray Estates, which is promoting the scheme as "Edinburgh's Garden District," owns some 80 pent of the land needed for the development, which is being pursued with the backing of the Lloyds Banking Group.

Sir David snapped up more than 600 acres in 1989 as a "long-term investment". His company has spent more than two years drawing up the current scheme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, it will need special permission from the council and the Scottish Government to go ahead with the development and is likely to face opposition from environmental campaigners. The developers believe the scheme's environmental credentials and potential economic benefits will help sway the authorities. Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said: "There are ongoing studies into what green belt land should be released in the whole city region over the next 20 years and the council has identified west Edinburgh as an area of significant strategic importance, including earmarking a nearby site for an international business gateway complex."