Revamp of Edinburgh’s Ross Bandstand set to begin in 2020

Plans are being drawn up for the redevelopment of the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens . Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Plans are being drawn up for the redevelopment of the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens . Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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A HISTORIC revamp of Edinburgh’s famous Ross Bandstand could be underway in four years.

City leaders are set to seek permission from the Scottish Parliament to create a replacement for the crumbling structure after Apex Hotels founder Norman Springford offered to bankroll the project.

They hope the venue, situated in the heart of West Princes Street Gardens, could undergo redevelopment under a shared multi-million pound vision which would include new landscaping, visitor facilities and a refurbished Ross Fountain.

And bosses are now gearing up to launch a design competition to gather ideas for how the finished product could look.

At a meeting of the full council next week, members will discuss a report outlining the planned appointment of a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) to front the proposed redevelopment.

Under current plans, this charitable trust will launch a design competition for the site which, if approved by the council and permitted by the Scottish Parliament, could see work underway by 2020.

The council previously admitted the existing arena - which dates back to 1877 and was last overhauled in 1935 - is “no longer fit for purpose.”

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “While the Ross Bandstand 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.

“By working in partnership with a SCIO, we hope to be able to work towards the creation of a new facility as part of major renewal of the Gardens.

“The area is common good land and we are well aware of the implications of building in public parks, so while there is still much work to be done, we are making a commitment to supporting and progressing plans.”

Richard Lewis, the city’s culture leader, added: “In the shadow of Edinburgh Castle in the heart of West Princes Street Gardens, the Ross Bandstand boasts what must be one of the most recognisable backdrops on earth.

“We are making a considerable step by progressing redevelopment ideas for the site and I hope that by working with Mr Springford, we will be able to support an exciting design competition with the SCIO to see this incredible asset brought back into suitable use.”

Mr Springford, who is also the former owner of Edinburgh Playhouse, said: “A charitable trust has been set up and we are all looking forward to moving this project forward which will hopefully deliver immediate improvements in West Princes Street Gardens.”

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