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Foster forced to revise design for new urban quarter in Edinburgh

Foster and Partners has radically reworked its £400 million masterplan for Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary following pressure from local campaigners and the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland (RFACS).

The practice has reduced the project's massing, redesigned the six-storey residential buildings and trimmed down the scheme's commercial quarter.

The changes came after an ultimatum from the city council's planning committee, which warned that unless the Meadows Residents Association's concerns were resolved, the scheme would be thrown out.

The project will provide Scotland's capital with a new urban quarter including a 220bed hotel, 600 homes and 60,000m 2of office space.

Foster and Partners' project architect Hugh Stewart said the design team was 'happy to make the changes'. 'There is a lot going for the scheme and we believe we have solved all the residents' concerns, ' he said.

But RFACS director Charles Prosser said it had been a long battle to win the alterations.

'Foster turned up believing he was going to get his own way, ' Prosser added. 'We made him realise that you can't just build anything in this city.'

However, a source inside the planning department said there is 'still uncertainty' over whether the scheme would win permission. 'There remains a lot of hostility, ' she said.

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