Plans unveiled for new 8,000-capacity arena at Straiton

LOTHIAN Leisure Development (LLD) has announced a partnership with Birmingham-based NEC Group to deliver a new 8,000-capacity indoor arena at Straiton, just outside Edinburgh city centre.

The plans include the transformation of a 30-acre site into a mixed-use leisure and entertainment destination. As well as the venue, proposals for the wider development include conference, retail and leisure space, a cinema and two hotels.

NEC Group, which already operates two indoor arenas in Birmingham, is supporting LLD to progress the scheme proposals to full feasibility stage, taking on full management of the arena including event programming, hospitality, commercial rights, catering and ticketing once planning permissions are in place.

Nick Brown, design and 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.” 

Phil Mead, arenas and ticket factory chairman at NEC Group added, “We host over 700 events per year in the Birmingham area and have always planned to take our successful events model to new cities with the backing of our majority shareholder, Blackstone. We are already looking forward to opening the redeveloped Bradford Live venue in 2021 and are delighted to now confirm our partnership with LLD which will hopefully see us manage our first venue in Scotland. 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.” 

Dave McGeachan from Scottish concert promoter, DF Concerts, commented, “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 agreed. He 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.”

LLD said it is in discussion with several parties to secure funding for the development phase of the project. Over the coming months LLD and the NEC Group will work to progress the proposals to full scheme design stage and to carry out a series of public consultations.

A planning application is expected by the end of 2020.