Plans to build a “mini-Murrayfield’ on the doorstep of the home of Scottish Rugby have been given the thumbs up by Edinburgh city council.
A new 7,800-seater stadium will be built as the new home of Edinburgh Rugby when stands are put up on the back pitches at Murrayfield around a new artificial pitch.
It is hoped the facility will be ready for the 2019-20 season.
The Pro 14 club has had a range of temporary homes across the capital, including Meadowbank Stadium and Myreside. This season, all home games are being held at BT Murrayfield, where Edinburgh’s high-profile clashes will continue to be played when the new stadium is built.
Scottish Rugby chief operating officer, Dominic McKay, pictured, said: “Our ambition is to create a new home for Edinburgh Rugby and enable us to provide the city’s only professional club with a fit-for-purpose venue that will serve to further enhance performance. Edinburgh Rugby has spent many years working with the council and other partners to establish a home of its own and explored and exhausted the city’s viable options. Scottish Rugby is keen to take the initiative and solve this problem by its application to utilise its own land at BT Murrayfield.”
Each of the four stands will be approximately 8.6 metres high, around a new east-west facing 3G sports pitch. Part of the north stand will be assigned for accessible use and will have ramped access. The existing six 18m high floodlights at the back pitches will be replaced with four 25m high floodlights. Fans will be able to enjoy a drink at two converted 20m long shipping containers next to Murrayfield’s east stand – with food stalls placed around the stadium on match days. Cllr Donald Wilson, the council’s culture and communities convener, said: “After 20 years of searching for a permanent base, I hope this gives Edinburgh Rugby the relevant planning permission it needs for its own purpose-built home.”
Officials said the proposals posed “no loss of open space”, despite one pitch being lost to make way for the stadium. In a report, planning officers said: “Scottish Rugby has provided a letter of undertaking to Sportscotland stating it will provide funding to enable a programme of upgrade works to the two grass pitches at Roseburn Park to deliver increased playing capacity.
“These works will be undertaken by the existing club on the site. If these works cannot be undertaken at Roseburn Park, Scottish Rugby will provide the sum of £150,000 to the City of Edinburgh Council to be used for pitch upgrades in another location in the area.”