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Old Edinburgh's biggest plan for eight centuries

Hackland and Dore Architects has masterplanned a £50 million scheme billed as the biggest single development in Edinburgh Old Town since its twelfth- century beginnings.

The 1.5ha rundown industrial area is a few minutes' walk from the site of the new Scottish parliament building. Some 33,000m2 of mixed-use space will include offices, up to 50 new homes, shops and leisure above 760 car spaces. A hotel may also be included in the scheme submitted to planners last week. It is within the Old Town conservation area and the World Heritage Site.

Parking 2000, a consortium of local businesses, owns the former bus depot site, next to Waverley Station. The project, on 11 plots, was too large for one architect and up to four would be invited to do detailed work, said chief executive Mike Rutterford.

'A mix of styles is appropriate to capture the grain, texture and higgledy- piggledy nature of this part of Edinburgh,' he said. 'We do not, however, want a pastiche of what went before.' The consortium aims to raise money through private means.

Building work is due to start in nine months and will open up former road patterns. An old gasworks used to stand on part of the land, which will need to be decontaminated.

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