Vision for 8,000-capacity indoor arena for Edinburgh revealed

A CGI image of how the arena would look at night (Lothian Leisure Development/PA)
A CGI image of how the arena would look at night (Lothian Leisure Development/PA)

Plans for a “long-awaited” indoor arena for Edinburgh have been revealed by developers.

Lothian Leisure Development Ltd (LLD) has announced a partnership with Birmingham-based NEC Group to create the 8,000-capacity venue on a site at Straiton on the outskirts of the city.

They plan to transform the 30-acre site with conference, retail and leisure space, a cinema and two hotels, as well as the arena itself.

Edinburgh arena
A site for the arena has been secured at Straiton (Lothian Leisure Development/PA)

NEC Group, which already operates two indoor arenas in Birmingham, is supporting LLD as they progress the scheme proposals to “full feasibility stage” and will take on full management of the arena once planning permissions are in place.

Dave Fowler, business development director at LLD, said: “These exciting proposals showcase the modern indoor arena that Edinburgh deserves and with operating partner NEC on board the capital is assured a pipeline of the world’s greatest entertainment talent.

“We also look forward to applying many of the other aspects of the hugely successful NEC Campus to Edinburgh in due course.

“We see this as a revolution in entertainment provision for one of the world’s most cultural capitals – and one which will benefit all sections of the community.”

LLD is in discussions with several parties to secure funding for the development phase of the project.

It is hoped a planning application will be submitted by the end of 2020.

Phil Mead, arenas and ticket factory chairman at NEC Group, said: “Edinburgh is well known for its wonderful cultural offering but remains one of the only European capital cities without an indoor arena and so we’re excited by the thought of being able to bring some big names in entertainment to the region.”

Event and concert promoters welcomed the news.

Dave McGeachan from  DF Concerts said: “These days it is rare that a capital city doesn’t have an arena so this is a long awaited and positive addition to the Scottish entertainment market.”

Mark Mackie from Edinburgh-based Regular Music said: “A venue offering audience capacities between 5,000 to 8,000 will dovetail nicely with the existing facilities in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“We eagerly await the opening when we look forward to presenting a varied range of artists.”


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