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25th February 2021
We are announcing today that effective April 1st 2021, Edinburgh World Heritage will end its short-term occupancy of the Tron Kirk, on Edinburgh’s High Street.
During the past two years, the building has been home to ‘Our World Heritage’, an exhibition which showcased the World Heritage Sites of Scotland, including the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, as well as John Kay’s Shop, the Scottish Textile Showcase and the Edinburgh Welcome ticket desk. Over 600,000 residents and visitors have visited the exhibition, which also told the story of the building, and of the archaeology which lies beneath.
Research conducted by Edinburgh World Heritage indicates that 95% of visitors to the exhibition supported our long-term vision to fully refurbish the Tron to create a centre for Scotland’s World Heritage Sites and other UNESCO designations, such as the Creative Cities Network, geoparks and biospheres. However, to deliver this vision, significant capital expenditure was required, from sensitive alterations to the provision of services. Given the Tron belongs to the city, a key aspect for major funders was that the City of Edinburgh Council make a contribution to the cost of conservation and refurbishment.
At a meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee of December 3rd 2020, City of Edinburgh Council were unable to commit to any funding for the project due to ‘significant unbudgeted capital pressures’. As a result, the likelihood of securing support from other major funders for this project at this time is now judged to be very low. Given our plan was always focussed on finding a sustainable long-term use for the building, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the project. This will also enable Edinburgh World Heritage to focus on addressing wider heritage challenges in the city, and supporting its recovery from the pandemic.
Edinburgh World Heritage remain committed to the idea of an Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage centre for residents and visitors. We expect to start exploring other ways of making this vision a reality once the pandemic subsides later in the year. We are also committed to helping find a sustainable use for the Tron, and will work with City of Edinburgh Council and other partners to that end.
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