The development of a Food and Drink Innovation Hub and the potential future Innovation Park on land adjacent to Queen Margaret University (QMU) has taken a major step forward. In February 2022, the Joint Venture Structure between East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University that will take forward the delivery of the plans was approved. The first stage of this exciting development, construction of the Food and Drink Innovation Hub, is expected to begin in early 2023 and complete in 2025.

Food and Drink Innovation Hub

East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University are delivering a Food and Drink Innovation Hub, which is Phase One of a wider Edinburgh Innovation Park on land located adjacent to the Queen Margaret University campus.

ELC and QMU have successfully secured  funding for the Food and Drink Innovation Hub from the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The Food and Drink Innovation Hub will promote the ambitions of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal by promoting inclusive growth and supporting the creation of a significant number of new jobs. The Food and Drink Innovation will drive company growth, supporting and developing existing businesses and creating sustainable new businesses to access a global market. There are opportunities to deliver skills programmes which will strengthen the county’s workforce and ensure that East Lothian is well positioned to build strong, sustainable economic growth.

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal is a £1.3 billion regional investment programme funded by the UK and Scottish Governments and regional partners including East Lothian Council. The City Deal’s committee approved the plan in June 2021, with the Hub being funded by £28.6 million from UK Government, £1.4 million from the Scottish Government and £10 million from East Lothian Council.

Transport and travel

The wider area ( of 116.5 hectares) was granted outline planning permission in March 2019, including  the delivery of  a grade-separated junction providing easier access to and from the Musselburgh bypass, the creation of pedestrian and cycle routes, including the council’s Segregated Active Travel Corridor, the delivery of 1500 homes, a primary school, business space, community facilities, public parks and playing fields.

Work is progressing on a new junction on the A1 near QMU

Diversions for motorists will start around late May/early June 2022 with a new temporary route past the site, taking traffic off the A1 for a short stretch. The existing on-slip from the QMU campus onto the A1 southbound is expected to close from late June for around two months. A diversion will also be in place for this.

The works involve the construction of a new northbound on slip-road to the A1 and a new off slip-road from the A1 northbound carriageway which will each meet a newly constructed roundabout, providing access to the future development area around QMU, along with a link road to 
the existing junction at QMU, which will pass underneath the A1.


An application by Persimmon Homes for detailed planning permission for 370 houses and 103 flats on part of the site was also granted in March 2019 and this development has commenced.