Royal High School hotel plans scaled back

Royal High School hotel mainDevelopers behind a project to transform Edinburgh’s historic Royal High School into a luxury hotel have revised their plans in an attempt to gain council approval.

Weeks after the City of Edinburgh Council unanimously backed an alternative bid for a music school on the site, Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels have unveiled a fresh vision for former school.

The developers have cited the “current economic climate” for the surprise move which comes despite an appeal being lodged against the rejection of their original scheme.

Full details of the changes have yet to be published but Bruce Hare, the chief executive of Duddingston, said that they were “going through a design process”.

The initial £75 million hotel bid was thrown out in December after councillors decided the plans, which included two six-storey extensions, would damage the setting of the A-listed neoclassical building on the flanks of Calton Hill.

At the time planning convener Councillor Ian Perry, said the “very difficult decision” came down to the scale of the Hoskins Architects-designed development, which was “ultimately too great”.

The resubmission follows the council’s decision last month to back a rival project, in which the building would become the home of St Mary’s Music School and a 300-capacity concert hall.

The Scottish Government has now been asked to put the appeal process on hold while the new application is pursued.

Mark McMurray, legal representative for the developers, said: “The difference between the projects relates to the balance between the physical scale of the built development and the economic basis of the development and its operational viability. In the current economic climate, these matters are finely balanced and the appellants’ position is that both options are feasible and should be consented.”

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