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Edinburgh’s first purpose-built performance venue in more than 100 years wins planning permission

The Dunard Centre will be located behind the Royal Bank of Scotland's Dundas House on St Andrew Square in Edinburgh. Photo: HayesDavidson
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Edinburgh’s proposed new 1,000 seat concert hall and 200 seat studio theatre space has won planning approval from the city’s council.

Previously referred to as the Impact Centre, it will be called the Dunard Centre – after a donation from the Dunard Fund – and will be Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music and performance venue for more than a century. It will provide a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a principal venue for the Edinburgh International Festival.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s development management subcommittee agreed by a majority of six to four to approve plans for the £45 million venue behind the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Dundas House on St Andrew Square.

Ewan Brown, chairman of Impact Scotland, which is behind the project, said: “Today’s decision is tremendous news for the city and turns the ambition for a world-class centre for music and performance into a reality.

“I am particularly pleased to announce today that the official name of the venue will be Dunard Centre supported by Royal Bank of Scotland. This is in recognition of the huge contribution Carol Grigor has made to this project through the charitable trust Dunard Fund.”

The venue is the flagship cultural project of the City Region Deal which is providing £25 million: £10 million each from the UK and Scottish governments and £5 million from the city council.

All other funding is being met privately, with the Dunard Fund making a substantial donation. It is underwriting any capital cost overruns and annual deficits of the centre in the first three years of operation.

Opposition to the project came from a group representing investors in the neighbouring St James Centre which is currently being redeveloped, who claimed the venue could have used underground access.

The proposal was supported by the city’s civic trust, the Cockburn Association which said that despite significant impact on the city skyline it will do no harm to the New Town conservation area.

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