Proposal to replace Ross bandstand

Council to look at £30m arena proposal

Ross BandstandPlans to replace the ageing Ross Bandstand in Princes Gardens, Edinburgh will be put before councillors next week.

A £30 million proposal was unveiled last year by city hotelier Norman Springford who has offered to work in partnership with the city council.  The plan would include renewal of the Gardens and the fountain.

Mr Springford believes Edinburgh should be able to support an arena to match the Sydney Opera House or Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum and he suggested a design competition to come up with something similar.

His proposal was for a 5,000-seat all-weather arena, compared to the current 2,000-seat capacity outdoor venue.

The bandstand is a centrepiece of the annual fireworks concert at the end of the International Festival and at Hogmanay.

The current structure was developed in 1935 on the site of an earlier building dating back to 1877. It was gifted to the City by William Henry Ross, chairman of the Distillers company and Mr Springford is hoping for similar generosity for the current crop of wealthy business leaders and corporate organisations.

Council Leader Andrew Burns, Convener of the Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee, said: “Scores of famous acts have graced the Ross Bandstand stage and while it remains a key venue for the city’s famous Festival Fireworks and Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens, it is more than 80 years old and is nearing the end of its useful life.

“It has been a long held ambition of the council to create a new facility as part of major renewal of the Gardens but is not, in the current financial climate, a project we could undertake alone.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr Springford for his personal commitment to the project. Princes Street Gardens are a major source of residents’ pride in the city and it is important that we get any changes to the park right. There are a lot of considerations, from the fact the area is Common Good land to the implications of building in public parks, and so there is still much work to be done.”

Mr Springford said: “Whilst it has been a personal ambition to see redevelopment, the opportunity for this to become a reality arises from a real spirit of public/private co-operation. I’m sure we are all looking forward to being given the chance to deliver a project which the city can have pride in.”

The council’s corporate policy and strategy committee will be asked to consider the legal and technical landscape and feasibility of the project.

Should it be progressed, a further report detailing the project’s stages, decision points and timescales would be published in June for consideration by full council.

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