Lease agreed for new festival hub in city centre

South bridge resource centre

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (EFFS) is set to develop a new festival hub after the City of Edinburgh Council agreed a long lease for one of its buildings in the city centre.

The decision to lease South Bridge Resource Centre was taken at a meeting of the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee today (Thursday 14 March).

The EFFS proposals, funded from an award of up to £7m from the UK Government, would see the building completely refurbished and modernised, with an emphasis on access and carbon reduction, as it is transformed into a year-round resource.

Detailed work is ongoing to identify other venues for the current users of South Bridge Resource Centre - the majority are adult education classes with suitable alternative locations already identified - and further detailed and responsive engagement will take place as plans are finalised.

Councillor Val Walker, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: 

Today’s decision means the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society now has a substantial city centre location for their exciting plans for a new hub. The proposals are for a new, year-round space which includes opportunities for local cultural organisations, artists, and communities to use as well as a Fringe Festival home. 

The Council has a vital role to play in ensuring residents have access to creative and cultural opportunities wherever they live in our city.  We’re committed to regular funding, partnership working, and backing development programmes and projects. By doing this, we can support and facilitate the stability and development of our city’s exceptional array of cultural activities, venues, communities and events at every level. 

As part of the proposals, suitable alternative locations have already been identified for the majority of groups and classes that currently use the building. Further detailed and responsive engagement will take place as we identify venues going forward.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:

The Committee's decision today is an important milestone in the journey towards creating a new Fringe community hub.

We're pleased with the decision and excited to move a step closer towards providing a flexible, functional, sustainable and accessible space to bring artists, residents, community groups and the Fringe community together.

Published: March 14th 2024