A DERELICT brownfield site in the west of Edinburgh is to be transformed into a multi-purpose country park and leisure facility with £26 million backing from the Scottish National Investment Bank.
The Wavegarden Scotland redevelopment of the disused Craigpark Quarry near Ratho will see the creation of a 23-hectare world-class leisure and staycation facility with surfing at its heart.
The project will also deliver significant sustainability and community benefits to help regenerate the area.
The development aligns with the Bank’s place mission, using investment to enable regeneration that will improve the environment for local communities in the west of Edinburgh, providing over 100 new job opportunities and wider economic benefits via this ground-breaking leisure destination.
Senior lender OakNorth Bank is supporting the construction of the facility with an £25.2m loan.
Backing is also being provided by BAE Systems Pension Fund IM who will purchase the park through an innovative sale and lease back arrangement once construction is complete.
With an expected opening of Summer 2024, Wavegarden Scotland will provide inland surfing all year round to enable safe, predictable conditions to learn and develop skills in the rapidly emerging sport.
Wavegarden Scotland’s design philosophy has been centred around the restoration and promotion of biodiversity in an area that suffers from industrial decay.
Mental health and wellbeing have also been a central part of the ambition supported through publicly accessible green-space and increased opportunities to participate in an outdoor sport with proven health benefits.
With an inclusive approach, Wavegarden Scotland is committed to work with local communities and charities to provide access to the surfing facility.
Andy Hadden, Founder of Tartan Leisure the company behind the project said: “Wavegarden Scotland will be a dynamic new leisure destination, whether you are in or out of the water.
“Having the backing of 45 local entrepreneurs and international shareholders, including Promenthean Investments LLP and Murray Capital, combined with the incredible support from the Scottish National Investment Bank, OakNorth and BAE Systems Pension Fund, has created what we believe, is the optimum financial structure for this landmark destination.”
Lothians Conservative MSP Sue Webber, Convener of the Education, Children and Young People Committee, welcomed the Bank’s investment.
She said: “I’ve been proud to support the Wavegarden project, first as a local Councillor for the area since 2017 and as now as an MSP.
“Bringing a world-class outdoor facility like this to Ratho will be an exciting asset to the community along with jobs and a genuine economic boost to the region.”
Wavegarden is a global surf technology brand that has witnessed extremely high growth in the surf park sector with more than 60 projects currently in development across the globe, 7 facilities operating successfully and 7 projects currently under construction across 4 continents.
When complete the complex will also include holiday lodges and a central hub building with a food court. There will be close ties with local businesses during the construction phase and beyond to help maximise the local economic benefit.
Scottish National Investment Bank Director Susan Campbell said: “This is an exciting, innovative, and ambitious project.
“The Bank’s backing will regenerate a derelict site, increase access to the natural environment, help to restore biodiversity and stimulate tourism.
“Once complete, Wavegarden Scotland will provide a world class outdoor facility for everyone to enjoy, enabling important health and well-being benefits as well as a nationally important leisure facility.
“The investment is a great example of the public and private sector collaborating successfully to unlock potential.”
Greg Manson, Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, continued: “Wavegarden Scotland will provide transformational benefits to the local economy each year – as a Scotsman, this makes me very proud.
“Andy Hadden is an incredibly passionate leader who has assembled a world-class team of people who are as dedicated to this project as he is.
“Tartan Leisure’s innovative funding structure, leveraging land ownership with a long-term pension fund buy-out provides opportunity for ongoing success.
“This is an extremely impressive feat. We look forward to continuing to work with him and the team, and watching the new park make a huge splash.”
Michael Burt, Founding Partner of Promethean LLP added, “Tartan Leisure is an excellent business and this highly impressive funding structure lays strong foundations for a bright future.”