Summary of NTBCC’s Representation to Amended RBS Proposals

Following the well-attended January meeting, as agreed, NTBCC have made further representations to the amended applications 16/05454/PPP and 16/05455/CON.

Thanks to the Fettes Row & Royal Crescent Association and Friends of King George V Park for their contribution and community engagement.

We continue to believe that the proposed site, given its size, central location and adjoining a precious open space within the New Town, does offer a unique opportunity to add real value to the area whilst still allowing the current owner to achieve sufficient value from the site. As such, NTBCC are not against appropriate development for the site which directly abuts the Edinburgh World Heritage site and within the New Town Conservation Area – including replacement of some of the buildings that have little or no architectural merit.

However, for the reasons outlined below, reflecting the concerns expressed by many local residents, NTBCC continues to object to this application being granted at this time and we urge that this application is either further amended or refused.

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Extraordinary meeting on amended proposals for the Royal Bank of Scotland site

On 8 January it was standing room only as over 100 local residents and community councillors crammed into the Drummond Room at Broughton St Marys Church to discuss the amended proposals for the Royal Bank of Scotland site bordering Fettes Row and  Dundas St. The overwhelming consensus was that the height of the proposed blocks, although cut down from 8 to 4 stories opposite Royal Crescent, would still cause unacceptable loss of amenity  to neighbouring residents and George V Park users alike, and still exceeded the massing guidelines set by  Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in their response   to the initial proposals for development in the New Town Conservation  area and  adjacent to the Edinburgh World Heritage site. NTBCC are aware that HES and the developer’s architects have had several discussions on this and that HES will make further comments on the latest proposal.

Several argued that they were disappointed that RBS had not done enough to find an alternative use for  some or all of the existing office buildings, some which may have potential to be converted  into a hotel or apartments. Many also objected to the application for change of use to up to 100% residential , arguing that  up to 400  new residential units would overwhelm the already stretched local schools and doctors surgeries - whereas a mixed use, retaining a requirement for a minimum of office use  could  create high quality jobs to support  the local economy.  A general concern was that demolition of the existing office buildings was sought despite the RBS only seeking change of use and outline planning permission. Fears were expressed that if demolition were granted on this basis before a detailed and properly funded scheme was brought forward residents could be left living next to a building site for years.

The NTBCC planning convener concurred with many of these points and assured the meeting that the Community Council would make a representation  reflecting the mood of the meeting. The deadline for lodging comments or objections is 15 January and residents were reminded that objections would only be considered  if they were founded on material considerations – such as loss of amenity or being contrary to policies in the Edinburgh Local Development Plan .  The amendments can be viewed on the Edinburgh planning portal under the original application 16/05454/PPP. The NTBCC  representation will be posted on this site in due course.


RBS Re-development – Summary of Proposed Changes

As discussed at recent NTBCC meeting, amended proposals have been lodged on the Edinburgh Planning portal mainly covering changes to the proposed new buildings fronting Fettes Row and Royal Crescent.

These amendments can be viewed on the planning portal (under the original application 16/05454/PPP). There are 35 new documents including 22 new drawings as well as updates to the original Design & Access Statement & the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Following NTBCC’s request, the final date for comments to be lodged has been extended by 10 days until Monday 15 January 2018 to reflect the Xmas holiday. It has also been confirmed that comments made on the previous application in November 2016 WILL BE taken into account when the Planning officer determines this amended application.

Broadly, the amended application proposes a small retail element (at street level fronting Dundas Street / Eyre Place) with maximum of 400 flats (if development is 100% residential) or some office / business use and/or an hotel and/or a care home with a reduced number of residential apartments.

The 8 January NTBCC Business meeting will be preceded by an open discussion (starting at 7:00pm) on these amended plans to allow the community to express their views and for everyone to better understand what is now proposed.

NTBCC also agreed to provide some guidance as to the key documents that have been either been added or amended to try to help understand the information contained therein.

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