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£25m revamp for outdoor events space in Edinburgh

A multi-million pound plan to redevelop Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens would cap the number of major live events taking place in the park to 15 per year.

The plan, known as the Quaich Project, aims to “reimagine” the park and “bring people together” with facilities including open-air stages and public seating.

Although there would be no restrictions on hosting events that do not close the park off to the general public, large-scale ticketed events would be limited to 15 days a year under the new plan. According to the Scotsman, ticketed events were staged across 22 days last year.

However, the number of people attending events at the park could be higher. Edinburgh News reports that the proposed maximum capacity would be three times higher than that currently in place.

Major events including the Edinburgh edition of DF Concerts’ Summer Sessions, last year headlined by Florence and the Machine, Primal Scream and Chvrches; Fly Open Air, which featured Solomun, Nina Kraviz, Peggy Gou and Seth Troxler in 2019; and the New Year’s Eve Hogmanay concert are all currently held in the gardens.

“This is a model where big events that involve exclusive access to the gardens are kept to a minimum”

According to a survey carried out by the Ross Development Trust, the charitable organisation charged with regenerating the park, 75% of the public is in favour of the park hosting more events.

Donald Wilson, Edinburgh council’s culture chief, said: “This is a very important stage in the project to reimagine West Princes Street Gardens.

“The core focus for the business model is on community access and activity by creating and sustaining a space for all in the heart of the city, celebrating nature, reflection, community and performance.

“This is a model where big events that involve exclusive access to the gardens are kept to a minimum, but these will make it possible to offer low cost rental of spaces to community or charitable organisations. Crucially, it proposes no more event days than we have at present.”

The redevelopment plans will be discussed by local councillors next week.


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