Edinburgh Arts Quarter – King’s Stables Road update

king's stables road outlineApologies for the lengthy silence but there really has been nothing to report. The council given the large number of bids took longer than expected to announce a short list and to be honest given this is a multi million pound deal I was concerned given that bids are confidential what I could and couldn’t say. I will always try to be as open as possible but without compromising the bidding process. I have to say the council have been very understanding and helpful given obviously I have an interest in what is happening while not actually being one of the bidders.

Having said that as I said before the hope was that the ideas in the Evening News opinion piece would be adopted by some of the developers and hopefully would still be in play once the short list was announced. As it transpired one developer in particular embraced the idea of the arts quarter wholeheartedly and has been extremely helpful. Others admitted they would tag on the idea to help win the bid but clearly their heart wasn’t in it. At the same time I brought in Tom Watton who has a lengthy CV when dealing with arts projects. Some of you may know him from Beltane Fire but his latest project was the recently finished St Margaret’s House near Meadowbank now home to 200 studios and 9,000 square feet of gallery space. Tom’s addition meant I was confident we had all bases covered when it came to being a credible part of any bid especially given deliverability is an important part of the process.

I’m now able to report that with the short list announced we are still in the running and an announcement will be made to a preferred bidder early in the new year. I doubt there will be much more to add until a final decision is made. Obviously if the bidder we are aligned with is successful then we will be in a position to consult with everybody as to the specifics of what can be done. Otherwise there will still be a public consultation process as it goes through planning and people will be able to have their say then.

With support from local residents and charities and various arts organisations amongst others and with many of our ideas shared by the Grassmarket BID we can just keep our fingers crossed and hope the bid is successful. I certainly don’t think we could have done any more. 

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