In collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council, the aim is to create a unique, internationally recognisable venue for all to enjoy, in an attractive and reanimated West Princes Street Gardens, as a year round, socially inclusive centre promoting a diversity of cultural activities.
This nationally-important site joining the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh is a ‘place for people‘. For much of the year a tranquil space in the lively city, it is also the seasonal focus for Scotland’s most high-profile events. However, the existing facilities are no longer fit for purpose.
We aim to improve the Gardens so they can be enjoyed as a quiet greenspace throughout the year, but are also suitable for these celebrations, and encourage the creative spirit of Scotland.
For some time access to the Gardens by wheelchair users, parents with children, and the elderly has been difficult. Disabled access is by way of the entrance on King’s Stables Road, and the steep pathways from Princes Street have proved challenging, especially during inclement weather conditions.
Much-needed improvements to public access will be incorporated into the Garden infrastructure works, providing step free, safe access from Princes Street.
The various projects provide a number of opportunities for the Trust, in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council, to promote a number of initiatives that enhance the objectives of Corporate Social Responsibility.
West Princes Street Gardens, nestling at the base of the Castle Rock and sweeping up to Princes Street, is an incredible area of green space in the heart of the city centre. Not only does it have fascinating historical significance, acting as a link between the Old and New Town, but has become a ‘place for people’, hosting major annual events as well as providing a haven of peace amidst the bustle of the city.
The development of Edinburgh city centre, with an improved public realm, greater transport links and stronger retail offer, has contributed to an improved visitor experience, but we believe that the neighbouring Gardens can be regenerated to offer a complementary but wider, more appealing and varied visitor experience for residents and tourists alike.
With increasing competition amongst cities to attract visitors and engage residents, Edinburgh needs to promote itself as a vibrant, modern, and contemporary city; the regeneration of West Princes Street Gardens is an ideal opportunity to make its mark. The need for wider improvements in West Princes Street Gardens has long been recognised, and The Ross Theatre is the focal point and catalyst for this opportunity. The current Theatre is no longer fit for purpose and a replacement performance facility is the driver for change, allowing a flexible space to cater for a variety of uses, ranging number of attendees, and seamless integration into the surrounding green space. Imagine a portrait view of the Castle and an internationally recognisable building sitting below; it conveys an entirely different perception to the present picture!
In addition to The Ross Theatre, a number of other features within the Gardens will benefit from attention, to ensure complete and complementary improvements. These include The Ross Fountain, the Shelters, the Blaes area and the temporary catering facilities to the west of the Gardens.
The aspiration for a replacement Theatre has never been stronger and there is a genuine ambition and willingness from both the public and private sectors to work together to achieve this. The Ross Theatre and the wider West Princes Street Gardens is a golden opportunity for Edinburgh to maintain and improve its reputation as a world city leader in both Culture and Arts.
Improving the overall offering of the Gardens is the main objective. Work on The Ross Fountain is well under way and work will commence as soon as possible on the smaller, easier to deliver projects, culminating with the completion of the new Ross Pavilion. A phased approach will allow early improvements to provide evidence we are all serious about our intentions.
If you wish to follow the progress of the projects, we will keep you informed with regular updates.
We rely on your generous support to fund our projects and bring our vision to life. We would be delighted if you wish to contribute.