Scotland business

Plans for 'digital quarter' at Edinburgh Airport unveiled

Aerial view of proposed site for Digital Quarter Image copyright Crosswind
Image caption The planned digital quarter would be sited in and around Edinburgh Airport's defunct runway 12/30

Plans to create a dedicated "digital quarter" next to Edinburgh Airport have been unveiled.

A company has been set up to take forward the development of a 150-acre site in and around the airport's disused second runway.

Those behind the Crosswind project aim to attract global technology companies and help develop home-grown digital businesses.

They claim it could lead to up to 4,000 direct and indirect jobs being created.

It also includes plans for offices, housing and leisure facilities.

The project is being undertaken by Crosswind Developments, which was set up by Edinburgh Airport owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) as an independent company with its own board of directors.

It is chaired by former chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling, and includes Lesley Sawers, the Equality and Human Rights Commissioner for Scotland.

Ownership of the Crosswind brownfield site is due to be transferred soon from GIP to the developers.

Image copyright Crosswind
Image caption The 150-acre site earmarked for the project is marked in blue

Crosswind Developments is set to start a consultation phase with local stakeholders. It hopes to apply for outline planning permission either later this year or in early 2020.

Crosswind said it wanted to create a unique Scottish "digital community" which would "augment Edinburgh's existing qualities as an attractive location for global companies".

'Unique opportunity'

Crosswind Developments chief executive John Watson said the site offered "a unique opportunity".

He said: "Crosswind is, perhaps, one of the best-connected, undeveloped sites in Scotland with immediate access to air, rail and road transport.

"It will have a focus on the kind of housing, working space and leisure facilities that people demand."

He added: "Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, should be an ideal location for global technology jobs but without a dedicated approach to creating the kind of environment technology companies are looking for, it's much harder to bring that investment here."

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