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Scheme masterplan

Digital Quarter to embrace shifts in work-life patterns

A new community would arise near the airport

A masterplan for the long-proposed commercial expansion next to Edinburgh airport will incorporate shifts in working and living patterns that have emerged from the pandemic.

Crosswind Developments said its 150-acre Elements Edinburgh project will include 2,500 homes and 1,020,000 sq. ft of commercial space including a dedicated Digital Quarter.

The site stretches from south-east of the passenger terminal towards the Gogar roundabout on the A8.

The plan has been adapted to meet new conditions that have evolved from the pandemic such as the need for shorter travel times, green transport and touch-free offices.

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

Crosswind chief executive John Watson said: “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. 

“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.”

The development covers 150 acres

The architect is Corstorphine + Wright whose 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.

Under the plans, more than 40% of the site will be green and public space with an informal park opening up access to the Gogar Burn.

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

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“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.”

The site has become available following the closure of the airport’s little-used secondary ‘crosswind’ runway.

Planning and development consultancy Lichfields was appointed planning adviser on the scheme two years ago.

An application for planning permission in principle (PPiP) has been submitted to Edinburgh Council.

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