Design & Development

Planning application entered for new Edinburgh arena

Featured image credit: AEG Europe

The AEG Europe division of sports and live entertainment company AEG has submitted a planning application to City of Edinburgh Council for its proposed 8,500-capacity arena in the heart of the Scottish capital.

The venue, spanning 18,500 square metres, will be situated in the Edinburgh Park area, with AEG Europe working alongside master developers Parabola. Plans to deliver what would be the first major indoor arena in Edinburgh were first unveiled in November.

Parabola, developers and site owners of Edinburgh Park, a new cultural quarter for the Scottish capital, have agreed to sell the site for the new venue to AEG Europe. The company has stated that with “unrivalled” public transport and motorway access, including two tram stops within an easy walk, two mainline stations, plentiful bus connections and excellent motorway links, the site in west Edinburgh is “extremely well positioned” to become home to an arena. 

Through an external audit, conducted by Savills, AEG Europe has projected that Edinburgh Park Arena will bring £520m (€607.5m/$655.7m) per annum of indicative Gross Value Add, including GVA from additional visitor spending outside of the arena.

The project is expected to attract 700,000-plus annual arena visitors with a related estimated annual visitor spend in the Edinburgh region of over £83m. Local employment is also expected to benefit from in the region of 1,300 jobs.

Alex Hill, president and CEO of AEG Europe, said: “We are thrilled to be progressing with our plans for a spectacular new arena for Edinburgh. The city has long been renowned as a destination for global culture and one of the world’s best for the arts and live entertainment.

“We’re excited to build on this reputation and bring world-class live music and entertainment to Edinburgh, as well as investing in the wider Edinburgh Park community through the creation of 1,000-plus employment opportunities.”

The application follows a series of in-person public consultation events, which took place on December 4 and January 9, where members of the project team and AEG Europe were on-site to hear firsthand from residents and update on intended plans.

Alistair Wood, executive vice-president of real estate and development for AEG Europe, said: “We’re delighted by the feedback and valuable insights we’ve received during the extensive consultation and public exhibition process. It’s been fantastic to see such strong support for our plans, and therefore we are hopeful for a swift and clear decision following our planning application.

“If we were able to secure planning permission, our focus would then immediately turn to identifying a building contractor and naming rights partner to bring this exciting project to life on site.”

The company is hoping to receive planning permission by June, with a view of appointing an external contractor to commence work thereafter.

With Edinburgh currently lacking a major arena, local residents are often forced to travel to either Glasgow (OVO Hydro) or Aberdeen (P&J Live) to catch concerts from big-name acts. Previous attempts have been made to deliver an arena for the city.

In December 2019, it was announced that NEC Group would lead the development of a proposed 8,000-capacity indoor arena in Edinburgh. The venue, to be built on a 30-acre site close to the city centre, was set to include conference, retail and leisure space, a cinema and two hotels.

The arena project saw NEC Group team up with Lothian Leisure Development (LLD), a UK based entertainment, leisure and sports venue consultancy.