JUST when you thought the east end of Edinburgh couldn’t fit in any new development, plans are announced for a £45 million new concert venue.
And before anyone groans about a waste of taxpayers’ money, in the best tradition of Edinburgh’s cultural venues, this scheme is bankrolled by an American philanthropist.
The planned new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is on a site off St Andrew Square which will be opened up by the massive St James development.
It is immensely exciting, not least because it will go some way to addressing Edinburgh’s desperate need for smaller concert venues.
The consistent moan in recent years has been that as Glasgow surges ahead, Edinburgh misses out on major touring acts because it does not have enough medium sized venues up to scratch.
We’re told that the planned new 1,000 capacity hall will be able to be used for pop, rock, folk and dance as well as classical performances and also act as a main venue during the international festival.
It may be too small to attract some of the bigger acts away from Glasgow but it will still undoubtedly give the Capital music scene a badly needed boost.
The Queen’s Hall of course has been a much-loved home over many years for the SCO but is now an outdated facility which is unable to cope with many modern productions.
The crumbling Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens falls into the same category.
Plans are afoot for both to undergo major revamps which should hopefully ensure that in a few years time, the city is spoiled for choice.
All of which adds up to great news for Edinburgh’s cultural scene.
The Capital badly needs a world class venues to reinforce its status as the host of the world’s largest arts festival.
Roll on 2020.