Edinburgh “to overtake Glasgow as Scotland’s biggest city”

Edinburgh is due to outstrip Glasgow within the next 15 years to become Scotland’s biggest city, the chief executive of the Scottish capital’s council has said.

Andrew Kerr said that by 2050 Edinburgh’s population is due to grow by half, and that its trajectory means the Scottish capital will overtake Glasgow by 2032, because the latter’s population is shrinking.

Opening a Built Environment Networking event, Kerr said Edinburgh’s priority is regeneration, not growth, because the city was not delivering sufficient grade A office space or housing.

But he said Edinburgh has "huge opportunity" to grow around Granton in the east of city, which he described as the "largest under-developed waterfront in Europe".

The council owns around 90% of the land in this area, making it easier than in the west, where a number of major land holdings would have to be brought together.

"The east will go quicker because we have more control. It’s a fantastic opportunity and where Edinburgh is going to go," he said.

He added that the council is due soon to make a decision on £165m plans to extend the city’s tram network to the waterfront area.

Also at the event, Craig Sanderson, chief executive officer of Edinburgh-based Link Housing, said the social landlord is discussing the establishment of a joint venture to build in the waterside area with the Port of Leith.  

This would help to deliver Link’s plans to build 3,200 new homes over the next five years, a 50% increase in the 55-year association’s total stock.

Chris Perkins, head of business space at M&G Real Estate, revealed that the fund manager is drawing up a revised masterplan for its Haymarket development.

He described the scheme, which is located on a four-acre site next to the recently refurbished railway station of the same name, as "the most important scheme within the city over the next three to five years".

Perkins said the scheme, which includes three Grade A office buildings totalling 350,000 sq ft, 40,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, a 190-room hotel and a 172-room aparthotel, will be worth "well over" £250m.

He said that any revisions to uses and massing would be in line with the existing masterplan with work is due to start on site in the second quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, the length of rent-free sweetener periods being offered in the city had declined from 18-24 months to 12, reflecting the growing strength of the office market in Edinburgh, Perkins said.

Image: Evening view of Edinburgh Castle from Salisbury crags (Stablenode/Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. Bigger maybe but never better than Glasgow

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