Edinburgh Airport Digital Quarter plans submitted

Crosswind Developments said on Tuesday it submitted an application for planning permission in principle (PPiP) to The City of Edinburgh Council for a 30-hectare “Digital Quarter” development next to Edinburgh Airport.

Crosswind Developments was set up by New York-based infrastructure investment giant Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), which owns Edinburgh Airport, and operates as an independent company.

Crosswind said the new development would create 2,500 homes, support 6,600 jobs, create more than 1 million square feet of commercial space and a Digital Quarter to support start-ups, growing technology firms and global companies.

“Elements Edinburgh will be a sustainable, inclusive, net zero carbon development using the latest in green technology …” said Crosswind.

A report by BiGGAR Economics predicts the development could boost Scotland’s GVA (Gross Value Added) by £460 million a year and support 6,600 jobs.

“The impact of coronavirus has been severe both in terms of public health and economic damage however we remain confident in the long term economic future of both Edinburgh & Scotland which is why we are pressing ahead with this important development,” said Crosswind chief executive John Watson.

“We have adapted our original plans, which already included many aspects of sustainability and inclusion, to ensure that Elements Edinburgh will be an exemplar for similar developments as we move to new ways of living and working.

“This is a significant commitment to invest in the Scottish economy at a crucial time ”

Architects Corstorphine + Wright said the principle behind the plans for Elements Edinburgh is to build a “sense of place” with blended living and working areas and significant open space.

“At its heart will be a Digital Quarter, home to tech start-ups and growing digital companies,” said Crosswind.

“The site is one of the best connected in Scotland with first class rail, road and air connections making it an attractive Scottish base for international firms.

“The overall design concept is centred on the Elements Hub including a vehicle-free public piazza at its heart which provides a high-quality public realm creating a civic centre and gathering place.

Charles Bell, of Corstorphine + Wright, said the vision for Elements Edinburgh took into consideration the need to adapt to the impact of coronavirus on society which will require residents, businesses and employees to do things differently.

“Elements Edinburgh will be designed to give employees and businesses a working and living environment that is flexible, responsive and reduces commute or travel to work times,” said Bell.

“The introduction of local amenities allows people to remain within the local community but still retain connectivity to existing active travel networks.

“The hub and spoke design of Elements Edinburgh allows inclusive access, enabling greater mobility and accessibility for a wide range of people of all ages including those with specialist needs and access requirements.”

Crosswind said the Digital Quarter, which aims to bring together academia, start-ups and growing tech companies, would be a natural extension of Edinburgh’s “innovation corridor’.