Response to Consultation for new Performance Venue behind RBS in St Andrews Square

IMPACT Scotland hosted a community consultation exhibition regarding proposals for land within Royal Bank of Scotland’s ownership at 36 St Andrew Square on 7 November. The consultation covered the Pre-application notice for the  “Demolition of the 1960’s rear office block to the rear of Dundas House and the erection of music and performing arts venue and Associated Uses”

Several members of the New Town & Broughton Community Council attended to better understand the development team’s initial thoughts on the proposed redevelopment at the rear of Dundas House (current RBS branch in St Andrews Square).

Although we were initially surprised at the lack of specific detail,  we do support the approach being taken of exploring public views on the key aspects of the proposal (context, setting) – with further public consultations in early 2018 then covering the style, footprint, massing and height of the new building.

We support the idea of a new international music and performance venue to be located in central Edinburgh, believing that it would add immeasurably to the amenity offered in central Edinburgh & specifically at the east end of the New Town – with its excellent transport infrastructure (bus, tram, train and car as well as being well-connected with pedestrian flows). It will also benefit the inter-connection with neighbouring developments and add permeability between St James Square and West Register Street, Register Place and St Andrews Square.

The facility as envisaged will be a welcome addition to performance spaces across Edinburgh, offering a mix of classical & other performances in an acoustically-excellent building.

We support the principle of designing the new facility from “inside to out” i.e. ensuring that the building functions as an acoustically-excellent space. The challenge is to ensure that the new building complements the adjacent listed buildings and does not unduly detract from them or dominate them.

We also raised the issue of possible concerns from the local residents immediately to the east. Retaining a residential presence in the city centre is one of Edinburgh’s main attractions that should be preserved.

Our full submission can be viewed here.