Former Royal High School – Revised Plans for Luxury Hotel Development Submitted

Following on from the Public Consultation in November 2016 for the proposed re-development of Edinburgh’s former Royal High School into a luxury hotel, the developer (Duddingston House Properties / Urbanist Hotel group) have unveiled a scaled-back vision for the site (see Edinburgh Planning portal reference 17/00588/FUL). New plans lodged with the city council for the project reveal that it will now have 127 rooms (20 fewer than before). The new submission’s stated aims are to pursue their original vision “to restore the unique building to prominence” and “create a world-class hotel of international standing”.

The original proposal was rejected by the Council planning officials and elected Councillors in late 2015 after the majority of heritage bodies and many residents (including the New town and Broughton Community Council )  objected to the scale of the development proposed and the adverse impact on the setting of this important listed building.

A parallel application to restore the building as a home for the St Mary’s Music School already has planning consent but cannot proceed due to contractual arrangements between Edinburgh Council and Duddingston House Properties.

Whilst we fully support in principle any scheme that will restore and safeguard the long-term future of this building , what was shown at the November public Consultation was not in our view sufficient to dispel the significant concerns we had with the previous proposal. That said, we  are currently examining  the planning application carefully before making our detailed response and we have extended an invitation to the developers to discuss these proposals in more detail with NTBCC and are awaiting their response.

We will communicate more details in the next few days but would urge everyone who is interested in the building’s future to examine these proposals and express their views to Edinburgh Council before 24 March.

Let us know what you think by contacting us through our website or attending our meeting on Monday 13 March.

Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement: A Consultation

Separate from its consultation on the planning system, the Scottish Government is consulting its Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, ‘a set of principles with an overarching vision that will guide the development of public policy on the nature and character of land rights and responsibilities in Scotland.’

To tell the Scottish Government what you think, go to https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/land-reform-and-tenancy-unit/land-rights-and-responsibilities-statement. This consultation closes on 10 March 2017.

Places, people and planning: consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system

The Scottish Government is consulting  on proposals to change the planning system. NTBCC encourages residents with concerns about the current system to read the proposals and tell the government what you think. Responses to this consultation are invited by 4th April 2017. To read the proposals and to make a response go to https://beta.gov.scot/publications/places-people-planning-consultation-future-scottish-planning-system.

NTBCC is also keen to represent your views - so if you wish please also tell us what you think of the government proposals via our contact page: http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/contact. Thank you!

Manifesto for walking

(adapted from an email from Living Streets Edinburgh)

With Council elections taking place on 4 May 2017, Living Streets Edinburgh is asking all political parties to include measures in their manifestos that will make walking in Edinburgh safer, easier and more enjoyable. Edinburgh is a naturally 'walkable' city but conditions for pedestrians are often  inadequate. Yet despite barriers to walking almost every one walks. Living Streets want City of Edinburgh Council to build on this and to support their aim to make Edinburgh a truly world class city for people walking.

Here are Living Street's four 'big ideas' :

  1. Transform Street Management
  2. Invest Much More in Walking
  3. Make a Comprehensive Traffic Plan for the City Centre
  4. Pedestrianise George Street

The full manifesto delivered to all councillors can be seen at http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/Living-Streets-Edinburgh-Manifesto.pdf. New Town and Broughton Community Council would like to hear your views on the Living Streets manifesto. Please use our contact form to tell us what you think.

Update on RBS Site Redevelopment including Historic Environment Scotland’s Response

The New Town & Broughton Community Council has consulted widely on the proposal for redevelopment of the RBS site fronting Fettes Row, Royal Crescent, Dundas Street and Eyre Place.

We have also had extensive engagement with the architects / agents who have been involved with bringing forward a planning application.

NTBCC have further refined the draft of the representations that we published on our website recently and have now submitted the final versions covering the Planning Permission in Principle application (16/05454/PPP) as well as the Conservation Area Consent application (16/05455/CON) for the demolition of the existing buildings on the site.

NTBCC’s final representation for 16/05454/PPP can be viewed here and the parallel representation covering 16/05455/CON here. They are also now available on the Edinburgh Planning portal along with other statutory consultees.

We have been encouraged by the high level of community engagement regarding this development and we appreciate the significant effort made by many local residents associations and other groups as well as the robust discussions at many community council meetings.

We have also encouraged many heritage bodies to register their comments on these applications and are pleased that our neighbouring community council (Stockbridge & Inverleith) have submitted their objections as well as Edinburgh World Heritage, the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) and the Cockburn Association.

We are also encouraged by the detailed objection submitted by Historic Environment Scotland - who has taken a strong position regarding the negative impact that the proposed development would have on the World Heritage Site due to the proposed height and massing (which can be viewed here with key statements highlighted). We would hope that their formal objection will ensure that current proposal is withdrawn and significantly amended followed by a further period of public consultation.

We remain of the view that a more appropriate level of development of this prime New Town site has the potential to create a complex of buildings that would truly enhance this area of the city.