New plans for £5m rugby stadium in Edinburgh

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Proposed stadiumImage source, Scottish Rugby
Image caption,
The new facility would sit alongside Murrayfield

Edinburgh has announced plans for a new £5m stadium in the shadow of BT Murrayfield.

Edinburgh Rugby has applied for planning permission for a new purpose-built 7,800-capacity venue on the back pitches at Murrayfield.

The club have not had a permanent home since joining the professional ranks in 1996.

Murrayfield has been their main base but the 67,000-seater bowl has proved impossible to fill.

Moves to Easter Road and more recently Myreside also failed to work out.

Edinburgh Rugby has also announced a re-branding of the club that will see it adopt the traditional dark blue colours of the original Edinburgh District side as well as a new club badge.

Image source, Edinburgh Rugby
Image caption,
Edinburgh Rugby has a new club badge

Jonny Petrie, Edinburgh's managing director, hopes the new semi-permanent structure, which will include four permanent stands as well as a 3G pitch, gets the go ahead.

Plans have been lodged with the City of Edinburgh Council and it is hoped the Gunners could be ready to move into their new home in time for the 2019/20 season.

Mr Petrie said: "We've seen a huge transformation with the way the team has performed under Richard Cockerill's guidance and this is really the next step on that evolution for us.

"It's been a question that has been on the table for such a long time for Edinburgh and where we play our home matches.

"So we're delighted to be in a position now where we can look to answer that by setting out a home for the club to really develop on and off the field.

"This is not about giving us an edge on Glasgow, but we have looked at the model developed through at Scotstoun. They have crowds of more than 7,000 week in, week out and are selling out.

"But we know we have the potential to come alongside that."

Football matches

The back pitches, a 22-acre site opposite Murrayfield's main entrance, have previously been used as a training base by Scotland and Edinburgh.

However, with Gregor Townsend's national team now using the Oriam training facility at Heriot-Watt University for their preparation work, Scottish Rugby Union chiefs want to make the site available to Edinburgh.

They are also open to the new venue being used for football, with talks with the Scottish Football Association over the possibility of staging youth and women's internationals as well as Edinburgh City FC in the offing.

Dominic McKay, SRU chief operating officer, who is also hoping to persuade SFA chiefs to switch major football internationals and cup finals to the main Murrayfield arena, said: "We want to make sure that not only can Edinburgh Rugby use this facility but other sports, potentially football, can too.

"We think this will be great for rugby in Scotland but also sport in Scotland.

"We have an outstanding facility here at BT Murrayfield. We've got a lot of space and we want to use it to the best of our abilities.

"By having a new purpose-built 7,800-seater venue, that adds weight to our bid for those games from the SFA."

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