PLANS for an Edinburgh Innovation Hub next to Queen Margaret University (QMU) have taken a step forward.

A detailed planning application for the proposal has now been submitted to East Lothian Council for approval.

The Hub is a flagship development by Queen Margaret University and East Lothian Council, with ambitions to create a nationally significant facility to capture, support and grow innovation-led enterprise in East Lothian and Edinburgh.

Focusing on high-growth sectors with specialist needs, including the food and drink sector, the hub will support innovative start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, delivering a specialist service for research and business development.

The hub is the anchor project of the wider Edinburgh Innovation Park on the land at Craighall, adjacent to the QMU campus, and was granted planning permission in principle in March 2019, as part of a mixed-use development, including new homes and a new primary school, business and industry use, and community facilities.

It is hoped that if the detailed design of the Hub is approved, construction will begin in 2023 with completion estimated in 2025.

East Lothian Courier: A digitally created image of what the Edinburgh Innovation Hub will look like

Local people can view the plans, along with information on the wider Edinburgh Innovation Park project as a whole, at an exhibition in the atrium of Queen Margaret University from Monday for two weeks. The application will be available to view on the council website in due course.

The project is supported by £28.6 million from the UK Government, £1.4 million from the Scottish Government, and £10 million from East Lothian Council as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Sir Paul Grice, principal of QMU, said: “The hub will support research, innovation and growth, particularly in the food and drink sector, which is hugely important for East Lothian, building on its title of Scotland’s Food and Drink County.

“It will also have a strong focus on the life science and tech sectors, which will be beneficial to all of our communities.

“Companies locating to the hub will benefit from facilitated access to the university, its social and intellectual capital, and to its business support services.

“As we continue to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and deal with a changed economic picture, this development will also be key in bringing quality jobs and investment to the area.”

East Lothian Courier: A digitally created image of what the Edinburgh Innovation Hub will look like

Malcolm Offord, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “It's wonderful to hear the Edinburgh Innovation Hub has reached its planning permission stages, taking the project a step further towards its development.

“The hub will be a huge academic and economic asset to East Lothian's already-thriving food and drink sector."