A planned new arena from the firm behind the UK Taylor Swift concerts has been hailed as a "game-changer for music and culture in the Scottish capital".

It was also like a dream come true nearly 30 years on for one person on the development team who had championed an earlier plan that involved the original bass player with The Animals and man who discovered Jimi Hendrix.

Donald Anderson helped steer AEG Europe’s new Edinburgh Park concert arena to planning success this week as part of the team in his director’s role at Playfair Scotland, the public affairs and communications company.

In an earlier role during his many years of public service as a councillor, Mr Anderson had worked to bring a purpose-built concert arena to the city.

AEG Europe, the owner and promoter of London's O2 arena, submitted the planning application for the arena to the City of Edinburgh Council in February.AEG Europe, the owner and promoter of London's O2 arena, submitted the planning application for the arena to the City of Edinburgh Council in February. (Image: AEG Europe)

This involved talks with the promotion firm that included Chas Chandler, the former musician and Hendrix manager, but the entertainment legend died and the deal eventually fell through.

Mr Anderson, also a former council leader, told this column: "We made a lot of progress with the owners of the Newcastle Metro Arena, but sadly Chas Chandler who was a key member of the team died of a heart attack, which was a huge shock especially as I was a huge fan of The Animals and saw them live in ‘83.

"Everything stopped after that. We tried again after the MTV awards were such success in Leith, but alas that never really took off. It’s about the last piece of cultural infrastructure the city needs and will be a stunning success I’m sure."

The arena from aboveThe arena from above (Image: AEG Europe)

He also said it was "great to be part of the team working on the Edinburgh arena", adding: "Kudos to AEG and the team at Savills for their superb work in getting it approved so promptly, and hats off to Edinburgh council for giving the proposals the thumbs up.

"This project is a game-changer for music and culture in the capital.

"I tried and failed to deliver one when I was council leader. Great to see it go through."


Green light for Edinburgh's 'largest indoor concert arena'

Taylor Swift concert giant's arena plan goes to hearing

Plans submitted for new 8,500-capacity arena in Edinburgh

AEG Europe, the firm behind Taylor Swift’s hugely successful Murrayfield concerts is now to finalise funding and appoint building contractors, with work set to start next year.

It is expected that 700,000 people a year will visit the purpose-built Edinburgh Park arena to see "the world’s best artists on the Scottish stage".

A hearing had been called because of the "significant public interest" in the venue plan put forward by AEG Europe, the firm behind the hugely successful Taylor Swift Murrayfield Stadium concerts.

The firm says it is "at the forefront in delivering international tours with world-renowned artists including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber".

AEG Europe, the owner and promoter of London's O2 arena, submitted the planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council earlier this year.

"Edinburgh Park Arena will be privately funded and AEG Europe are finalising funding partners to bring their vision for a new home for live music in Edinburgh to life," AEG Europe said: "Once an external contractor has been appointed and financed raised, construction is proposed to begin in 2025 and will continue over the course of two years, with the aim of delivering the first event in 2027."

Also this week, business editor Ian McConnell opines that "it has been somewhat demoralising, to say the least, to observe the standard of debate on the economy between the Conservatives and Labour so far in the run-up to the July 4 General Election".

He writes: "To say that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s television debate with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on ITV last Tuesday night was uninspiring would be a gentle euphemism.

"It has been left to veteran Tory Lord Michael Heseltine to name the elephant in the room that Mr Sunak and Sir Keir seem determined to ignore: Brexit."

Deputy business editor Scott Wright says that "the challenges facing one of the country’s biggest employers and, arguably, contributors to societal well-being appear to have been conspicuous by their absence from the dialogue, too".

It came as a high-profile chef launched a bid to raise the concerns of the hospitality industry and how the next UK Government could help a sector which continues to be blighted by burdensome overheads and the cost of living crisis.

Also this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey writes that a strategic partnership has been unveiled to help funnel more international investment in a space sector "first" for Scotland.

The Scottish Space Network has formed a collaboration with New York advisory firm Sustainable Alpha to secure opportunities for the global investment community to back early-stage space technology businesses in this country and further afield.

In what is said to be a first for the Scottish sector, the collaboration will initially focus on funding needs within the industry and development of a comprehensive investment strategy.