Royal Highland Show in £30m upgrade green light

Horse at the Royal Highland Show (Pic: Laura Thurso) The Highland Show has the best of farming, food and the countryside

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The Royal Highland Showground near Edinburgh is to get two new hotels as part of a £30m upgrade.

A 20-year masterplan for the Ingliston site has been approved by Edinburgh City Council.

It includes major indoor and outdoor improvements with the first hotel likely to be open by next year.

It is hoped the development will transform the showground into a world class event and exhibition venue.

The proposed expansion of Edinburgh Airport, flagged up in the 2003 Aviation White Paper, had previously put a planning blight on the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and forced it into considering its future location.

The society spent five years drawing up plans to re-locate to Norton Park, on the South side of the A8 opposite Ingliston.

However, after the airport decided to scale back its plans the RHASS was able to go ahead with proposals on its original site.

The site hosts 240 events each year including the Royal Highland Show in June, which had a record-breaking attendance of almost 190,000 last year.

'Absolutely delighted'

Most of the improvements will be to the east of the venue with a boulevard off Eastfield Road (the road to the airport) leading to a new east entrance.

Plans also include a new members' pavilion, a new exhibition hall, two new hotels with 165 and 75 bedrooms, an "agri-business" hub with office, conference and leisure facilities and a Scottish Centre of Excellence promoting and selling Scottish produce.

Stephen Hutt, chief executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the decision.

"A lot of effort has gone into getting to this stage and we now anticipate an early start to progressing the plans.

"We are already well-established as a top-class venue but this will take us to a new level.

"The potential here is unlimited and being adjacent to an international airport and on the fringe of the capital city, our vision is to be part of the gateway to Scotland."

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