West Princes Street Gardens is open from 7am – 5:15pm
The Ross Development Trust is a registered Scottish Charity, founded in 2016 to manage the delivery of significant improvements within West Princes Street Gardens to create a world-class, public, green space.
The Trust is responsible for managing the development phase of the proposed improvements, as well as raising the capital required to fund them.
The Board of Trustees consists of individuals with a broad range of experience, sharing a personal ambition to improve the offering in West Princes Street Gardens. The Trust is working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, with the city’s best interests in mind. Visit thequaichproject.org to find out more about our Board of Trustees.
The Gardens are managed and maintained by the City of Edinburgh Council and the ownership will not change. The Ross Development Trust is working in partnership with the Council to help fundraise and deliver improvements to the gardens for the benefit of the city. West Princes Street Gardens is part of Scotland’s Common Good Property, a special form of property with a public purpose, where title is held by a local authority for the ‘common good’ of the people.
West Princes Street Gardens sit within one of Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage sites and is one of the City’s signature and much treasured assets.
It is vital that we secure much needed investment in the gardens' infrastructure which will ensure the space remains a wonderful and celebrated asset for the City, with a world class performance space, improved accessibility, inclusivity, and supporting facilities that can continue to serve the needs of all residents, community groups and visitors. As Scotland’s capital and a leading city of culture, business and education, Edinburgh deserves a stunning and world class public green space in the heart of the city. The Quaich Project will enable the next chapter for the gardens to be written - a place to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The Quaich Project takes its name from a traditional Highland ‘sharing cup’. Typically a shallow, two-handled cup crafted from wood or metal, quaichs are often treasured, personal items – proudly gifted from one generation to the next – and used to celebrate special occasions together, more often than not with a dram of Scotch whisky.
The topography of the land that forms West Princes Street Gardens closely mirrors the bowl of a typical quaich and, appropriately, our vision aims to bring people together in new ways to celebrate Edinburgh’s status as one the world’s most beautiful, welcoming and vibrant capitals – generating new connections both locally and internationally.
To be successful we will need the active support and financial investment from a wide array of partners: businesses, philanthropists, charitable grant making bodies, community groups and all those with a vested interest in making this an internationally recognised space for all in the heart of Edinburgh.
The projected costs of our campaign, based on the original design concept submitted by wHY, is £25m. As the project develops, additional projects may be identified to ensure that the city benefits from a world class design. This figure excludes the costs of running a capital campaign (staff costs, marketing, administration etc.) based on fundraising efforts running up until the end of 2022.
Throughout 2019 and 2020 we will be inviting individuals and organisations to invest in the project with leadership philanthropic support to give the project the momentum it truly needs prior to the launch of a public fundraising campaign.
The Ross Development Trust, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, ran an international design competition in 2017 to attract the world’s leading architects to submit their concepts to reimagine the gardens. 125 submissions were shortlisted to seven teams who were each tasked with providing a concept design for their improvements to West Princes Street Gardens. These shortlisted concepts were put on display for five weeks for the public to see and comment on. The design concept from the architect firm wHY was unanimously selected as the winner of the international competition by the jury panel and was also the public’s favourite design.
Work has already started with the restoration of two existing landmarks in the gardens. The beautifully restored Ross Fountain was completed in 2018 as well as The Gardener’s Cottage, one of Edinburgh’s most well-recognised houses.
The project is currently within the design development stage, building towards a planning application being submitted in 2020. There will be many opportunities between now and then for the public to engage with the project and offer feedback and comments on the design as it develops.
The history of the Ross Theatre was that it was used as a community performance hub that provided entertainment and enjoyment for all those visiting the gardens. The current Ross Theatre is over 80 years old and is now awaiting its next chapter. This project will deliver a unique, world-class performance facility within the city to host all kinds of cultural, musical and artistic events and activities – allowing an even wider audience to enjoy Edinburgh’s vibrant and varied creative experiences.
Our aim is to create a wonderful public green space that is available to everyone, young and old, who wishes to use it. A key consideration of the design concept is to make the gardens more accessible, including new paths, lift access and less steep slopes to comply with modern access regulations. The plans include a range of interactive, sensory experiences to encourage positive learning and enjoyment for all visitors to the gardens. Consideration has been given to make the gardens accessible and inclusive in all weather, through improvements to the existing shelters and the provision of new public amenities.
The project aims to provide a space which can easily accommodate small, daily performances in addition to the few major performances the gardens are known for each year. With the modern design and infrastructural improvements these major events can be more efficiently accommodated, reducing the impact they have on the public’s uninterrupted use of the space.
As is currently the case, the number and type of activities taking place in the Gardens will continue to remain the responsibility of the City of Edinburgh Council.
The Quaich Project is managed by the Ross Development Trust, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered as a Charity in Scotland No.SC046873. Registered Office:
32 Hailes Avenue, Edinburgh EH13 0LZ.
West Princes Street Gardens are open from 7am-5:15pm
In West Princes Street Gardens, there is a play area with ramp access via Princes Street, a Café, and seating. Toilets can be found near to the play area (10am-10pm) as well as at the back of the Ross Bandstand (10am-8pm). All toilets for the disabled require a RADAR key for access.
These facilities are solely managed by the City of Edinburgh Council.
An online consultation took place 4 Nov to 1 December 2019 which gave public the opportunity to comment on the proposals. Public Consultation Events were held on Sat 9 Nov, Mon 11 Nov to Sat 16 Nov (Central Library) then Tue 19 at Morningside Library, Wed 20 Nov at Leith Library, Thu 21 Nov at Portobello Community Centre and Mon 25 Nov at Drumbrae Library Hub.
Our design team is currently reviewing feedback and comments from the first public consultation and will be revising designs to reflect viable suggestions.
To date the project has been supported by a number of private individuals, charitable trusts (including a grant from Edinburgh World Heritage for the restoration of the Ross Fountain and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo) and corporate sponsors to deliver small scale fundraising events.
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