Edinburgh St James Quarter: Why did the £1bn shopping centre flood days after opening?

AS heavy rain battered the country on Sunday, Edinburgh’s St James Quarter was hit with flash flooding less than two weeks after its initial phase of opening.  

Images and videos on social media from shoppers within the shopping galleria of the £1 billion development showed heavy rain pouring in and streaming down windows and balconies to the levels below.  

One clip showed employees of Boots on the first floor of St James Quarter mopping large puddles out of the shop front.  

The retail development in St James Quarter is not an enclosed space and is designed with a glass shelter covering the central atrium rather than a secured roof.  

A spokesperson for St James Quarter, said: “Due to the severe weather in Edinburgh, parts of the St James Quarter galleria were cordoned off for safety reasons. 
“St James Quarter has been built to fully integrate with the city’s streetscape and is not an enclosed building. Whilst St James Quarter has been designed as a naturally ventilated environment and allows some rain to come into the galleria, the extent of water ingress in two sections was mainly caused by severe rainfall testing areas within the second phase of opening which are still under construction.” 

READ MORE: Will the rain stay and why was it so heavy?

The Quarter began its first phase of opening on June 24 when more than 40 shops opened to the public.  

Parts of the retail-led lifestyle development, namely the top floor are still under construction ahead of the next phases of opening over the next 18 months.  

A yellow weather warning was in place for much of Scotland on Sunday, with the capital badly hit by storms. 

Multiple streets were awash with rain and flooding was spotted at Canonmills, Stockbridge, Gorgie and Princes Street. 

Emergency services attended some incidents including under one bridge in Chesser, where the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service could be seen helping vehicles which were stuck in the flooding. 

The stormy weather also caused travel disruption with trains both in and out of the capital halted. 

At 17:46 on Sunday, ScotRail tweeted to confirm that trains between Helensburgh and Edinburgh would instead only run as far as Bathgate for safety reasons. 

Buses were arranged to run from Edinburgh to Glasgow while Network Rail workers set up pumps to take the water off railway lines. 

As of Monday morning a yellow weather warning for rain has been put in place for central Scotland, Edinburgh and parts of Glasgow and the west coast from 11am to 11:59pm.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992