Bring on the music!

High School, Edinburgh 1829
High School, Edinburgh 1829

The A-listed old Royal High School, designed by Thomas Hamilton, (opened in 1829 – empty since 1968) – on Carlton Hill Edinburgh has been recommend by Council Officers to be turned into St. Mary’s music school.

The application for the music school will be heard on 17th August by the Development Management Sub-Committee.

Earlier in the year a controversial hotel was proposed to occupy the site on Carlton Hill. This was turned down on the day of the Committee but it was close.

At the time to applause from supporters in the public gallery, Cllr Nigel Bagshaw, from the Scottish Green party, said he was horrified by the proposal.

It was “crass, insensitive and a form of environment and architectural vandalism. I don’t think any of us should be supporting it,” he said.

Despite been rejected as a hotel, the Council is still in a contractual arrangement with Duddington House Properties LLP, over a conditional ground lease for the building from 2010 following an open Competition. This lease is for 125 years.

Duddinston House Properties LLP and Urbanist Hotels surprised no one by lodging an appeal to Scottish Government, which will be heard on November 28th. Another complication regarding any new applications for use of the site.

As for the new music school application the Officer Council report for the project stated:

“On balance, the proposals have no adverse impact on the architectural integrity and composition of the building ensuring that its special character is preserved.”

The old Royal High School – one of our most beautiful buildings has been empty for some time. But now with proper plans before the Committee, with a 21 century solution to using the venue as a music school, we hope that the Council Development Management Sub-Committee will make the right decision on the 17th by granting this application.

However we can only wonder what the Scottish government will do with an appeal for the orginal hotel plans being heard in November.

You can watch the Development Management Sub-Committee on the 17th live via the Council live video stream.

Update 17th August – Music School approved.

Although the School has no right to the building, and a lease granted to the hotel developers since 2010 still currently stands – the Development Management Sub-Committee have approved the School plans – even as an appeal for the Hotel is going through the Scottish Government at the moment and due to report before the year end.

More here: STVEdinburgh Evening News, Scottish Construction Now and watch the debate unfollowed at the Committee. Green Councillor Steve Burgess explains the situation we are in:-royal-high-school-gains-full-cou

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