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Foster's infirmary 'will hurt Edinburgh heritage site'

Edinburgh City Council's planning committee is set to reject Foster and Partners' £400 million masterplan for the city's Royal Infirmary next month.

The 7.5ha town centre scheme has come in for stinging criticism from the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland and local residents.

One senior source within the council told the AJ that he expected the project - which will create a new urban quarter with a 220-bed hotel, 600 new homes and 60,000m 2 of offices - to be dismissed by the planning committee as too large and 'damaging on the Edinburgh World Heritage site'.

Councillors, he claimed, are concerned that the scheme will impair the castle's sight lines for local residents and 'be out of scale' with the city's historic quarter. 'There is almost no chance that the committee will give this the green light, ' the source said. 'They are far too worried about the scale and members are worried about residents' views'.

And he said the committee would point to a recent report by the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland seen by the AJ that savages the project in its current form.

However, the Hurd Rolland Partnership's Alan Clyde - who has also worked on the scheme with Richard Murphy Architects and Page & Park Architects - dismissed the supposed problems.

Foster and Partners also insisted the practice was satisfied with the scheme.

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