£500m ‘urban quarter’ on Edinburgh outskirts set to go ahead

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work is set to start within weeks on the first phase of a new £500 million “urban quarter” on the outskirts of the Capital if councillors give the go-ahead to the project.

Developers Parabola want to build offices for 8000 people and 1800 new homes on 43 acres of undeveloped land to the south of Edinburgh Park.

Artists impressions of the Parabola development planned for Edinburgh Park.

Artists impressions of the Parabola development planned for Edinburgh Park.

It will be the city’s largest development for more than a decade and include sports and leisure facilities such as football pitches and tennis courts, as well as a new public square, shops, bars, restaurants, a health centre and extensive landscaping.

Planners have recommended approval for the first phase of the development – which involves seven office blocks, along with two multi-storey car parks – when it goes before the city’s development management sub-committee next week.

Parabola says the first phase of the plans are estimated to create nearly 5500 jobs.

The company’s founder and owner Peter Millican said: “We are pleased that the city council planners recognize the quality and attention to detail that shall be the hallmark of Parabola’s contribution to the city.

Artists impressions of the Parabola development planned for Eduin

Artists impressions of the Parabola development planned for Eduin

“Our vision for this new quarter of the city is to create vibrancy, a place of wellbeing within a sympathetically crafted landscape that is an exemplar of quality design.”

The developers also emphasise the easy access to public transport and cycling provision in the plans.

The site has two train stations within easy walking distance, two tram stops and many bus connections. Cycling will be given particular priority in the overall masterplan with dedicated safe cycle routes, provision of secure cycle spaces, charging for electric bicycles, drying rooms, shower and changing facilities for cyclists. There is also to be a “bike doctor” facility and the appointment of a dedicated transport coordinator onsite promoting sustainable options targeting public transport, cycling and walking.

Parabola also announced in July that it plans to move the company’s extensive collection of sculptures to the site’s parkland landscape to create a sculpture trail.

The sculptures include Leith-born Sir Eduadro Paolozzi’s towering work Vulcan, originally commissioned by Mr Millican for Parabola’s Central Square development in Newcastle and unveiled in 1999, six years before Paolozzi 
died.

The half-man-half-machine cast in bronze – seen as a monument to the modern industrial age – has only ever been previously displayed in England.

Council chiefs also see the land as a key development zone for Edinburgh.

Parabola managing director Tony Hordon said the company had amended its proposals based on feedback from stakeholders in a bid to reflect on the needs of the city.

He has previously described the development land as one of the best connected commercial and residential sites in the UK because of its proximity to the airport and the access to train stations and tran stops.

He said: “There are few opportunities that will deliver such a sustainable, well-connected community and that delivers the quality job and investment opportunities of the scale that is being proposed at Edinburgh Park.”