We reported on September 3 that NTBCC was relieved (but not surprised) that the latest planning application to redevelop the former RHS as a hotel by Duddingston House Properties and the Urbanist Hotel group had been unanimously rejected by Edinburgh Council.
We had urged the Development Management Sub-committee to unanimously reject the latest application – reflecting both the significant and detrimental impact on the Edinburgh World heritage site and Conservation area but also to acknowledge the unprecedented public opposition to the proposal. A unanimous rejection would send a clear message that further appeals would not be in the public interest.
Our submission to the DMC on 31 August can be viewed here.
We commended the Council officers’ on their thorough, comprehensive and well-reasoned report recommending refusal of the latest application and their view was strongly supported by Historic Environment Scotland, the Cockburn Association, Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, the AHSS and the three Ward Councillors amongst others as well as ourselves and the adjacent Residents Association.
The persistent theme raised by many objectors focussed on the unique importance of this building and its setting, and the inappropriateness of the height and scale of the design, ‘too much, for too little site’ irrespective of the economic benefit that tourism to the hotel would bring.
However, we were of the opinion that it was extremely unlikely that this would be an end to the matter; and that the Royal High School would be being entirely safe from inappropriate development.
The first hotel proposal is still at the Inquiry stage with Scottish Government Reporters and was on hold (“ sisted”) until 8th September.
The developers have now given notice that they intend to appeal this latest unanimous decision and, as far as we understand, restart the appeal for the narrowly rejected original decision.