BUILDING contractors Robertson have been selected to deliver the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland's new permanent event structure at the heart of Ingliston's Royal Highland Showground, with a pricetag of £5million.

Planning permission for the 'contemporary event space' was granted earlier this year, and Robertson – a firm that has undertaken major projects for universities and the NHS, and recently finished Macallan's huge new £140million distillery – was confirmed as the appointed contractor at a RHASS Board meeting this week.

Construction will begin in February 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 180th Royal Highland Show in June 2020. Described as a 'light-filled conference and meeting space', the finished building will be suitable for holding lectures and debates, and act as a 'pop-up exhibition space' which can be used to promote farming and rural life. A special raised viewing gallery will give incredible views over the main arena during the Royal Highland Show.

The new facility and its  1,750sqm of flexible event space will, the society hopes, become a unique destination which RHASS’ 16,000 members, businesses and organisations can use 12 months of the year.

The RHASS first moved to the 288-acre former greenfield site at Ingliston in 1960 and has since invested over £10 million into its infrastructure. Located adjacent to Edinburgh airport, the home of Scotland’s largest outdoor event is now being touted as one of the country's most dynamic event spaces, attracting one million visitors every year.

RHASS chairman Jimmy Warnock commented: “This is a landmark announcement as the society approaches its 235th year and this development marks another key moment in our history.

“From moving into the site in 1960, opening the iconic Highland Hall in 2003, which becomes home to hundreds of cattle during the Royal Highland Show, to becoming a hub for rural businesses including RHASS-funded Royal Highland Education Trust, NFU Scotland and SAYFC – all this goes to show our ambitions for the society continue to be match that of our founding partners.

“Our vision is to create an inspiring new hub and a place to celebrate the agricultural industry of Scotland," said Mr Warnock. "We’re very much looking forward to this becoming a place where ideas, innovation and inspiration can thrive and somewhere our members can be proud of.”

It is also hoped that the new space will provide further opportunities to generate commercial income to further the society’s charitable activities in support of agriculture and rural industry.

RHASS chief executive Alan Laidlaw added: “From concept to contractor within the year, we’re now at the stage where we have appointed Robertson to lead this exciting new development. This ambitious project will ensure the organisation is making best use of the space and our charitable assets, 365 days a year.

“We want to continue to support and grow the membership of our society so that it can equip and inspire future generations to continue the entrepreneurship and innovation for which Scottish agriculture is known.”