Gardens reopening delayed over Scottish National Gallery work

image source, Scottish National Gallery

The reopening of a section of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh which was closed for National Galleries of Scotland refurbishment work has been delayed by several months.

East Princes Street Gardens, which was due to reopen in the spring, will now remain closed until August.

The original 12-week programme began in January.

Officials said it would be open by the start of the Edinburgh Festival but project costs of £22m would not rise.

Work being carried out includes a new accessible path, landscaping and refurbishment of the Mound precinct.

image source, Scottish National Gallery
image captionA series of large windows will fill the galleries with light and offer views over the city

A refurbished Scottish Cafe and Restaurant, which is housed in the Princes Street Gardens level of the Scottish National Gallery, will reopen its doors to customers at the same time.

The work in East Princes Street Gardens is part of a wider redevelopment project by the National Galleries of Scotland which will transform former office, storage and display spaces in the Scottish National Gallery into a new world-class set of galleries that, for the first time, will be entered directly from the adjacent East Princes Street Gardens.

The project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish government.

The new accessible path will help people with mobility impairments, wheelchairs and prams.

Without the new path, the east gardens remain accessible only via steep gradients or a flight of stairs.

image source, Scottish National Gallery
image captionThe redevelopment has been designed by the Scottish practice, Hoskins Architects

After the summer, the construction work will be largely focused on the interior and grounds of the Scottish National Gallery.

The Edinburgh Marathon in May will still run through East Princes Street Gardens and the Mound precinct will be cleared for use as a route.

There will be 22 trees planted around the new accessible path as part of the construction work. The trees will be between 4.5m and 6.5m (16-21ft)

A further 30 trees will be planted in other areas of East Princes Street Gardens, West Princes Street Gardens, Lauriston Castle and Saughton Winter Gardens.

John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland said: "I want to extend a big thank you to the residents and visitors of Edinburgh during the construction works in East Princes Street Gardens.

"We apologise for any inconvenience and we appreciate you bearing with us whilst we make these transformative changes.

"As previously announced, the overall project is on schedule to be complete in early 2021."

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