A £600 MILLION deal which will include investment in a state-of-the-art innovation park in Musselburgh has been hailed as an “exciting” opportunity for East Lothian’s economy.

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal agreed last week sets out plans to invest the money in the economy of the Capital and surrounding local authority areas, including East Lothian.

And it highlights the proposed innovation park at Queen Margaret University (QMU), which is now being called ‘Edinburgh Innovation Park’, as a major part of the funding plans.

Councillor Willie Innes, East Lothian Council leader, said the deal included resources for infrastructure projects, skills development and innovation projects in East Lothian.

He said: “This is an exciting and significant opportunity to boost East Lothian’s economy while investing in skills programmes for local people.

“I am delighted that East Lothian Council, working with other local authorities in the region and national government has secured support for this major package to help accelerate growth.

“The proposed innovation park at QMU would see a business-focused development driving inclusive economic growth helping to meet local need and supporting the creation of a significant number of new jobs.”

But the deal has come under fire from Scottish Green campaigners, who questioned whether it would be of any real benefit to the county.

In her column on page 24 of this week’s Courier, Sarah Beattie-Smith said: “I can’t help feeling that it’s not such a great deal for East Lothian.”

Concerns have been raised about the emphasis on infrastructure investment at Sheriffhall Roundabout on the City of Edinburgh Bypass, instead of looking at improving travel in rural areas.

Andy Wightman, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said: “The offer is not as much as many expected.”

However, Queen Margaret University has welcomed the investment in its new innovation park project.

Professor Petra Wend, principal, said: “Our proposals for an innovation park in East Lothian, strategically well positioned on the periphery of Edinburgh City, are one step closer to becoming a reality.

“It is the major project included within the Edinburgh City Region Deal to benefit East Lothian and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create significant employment and a vibrant and sustainable community that will serve generations to come.

“Innovation is a mindset and, with East Lothian Council as our partner, we have set out a vision of facilities to nurture businesses aligned to QMU’s areas of expertise that will contribute not just to the prosperity of the region and nation but will enhance the wellbeing of the community.”