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Allan Murray reveals plans to demolish Modern building

A much-maligned 1960s building in the heart of Edinburgh is to be flattened to make way for a new mixed-used scheme by Allan Murray Architects.

The existing building on the corner of the Royal Mile and George IV Bridge - designed by RMJM co-founder Robert Matthew - will now be replaced by a £35 million regeneration project ( pictured).

Backed by Halifax Bank of Scotland, the scheme will see the former Lothian Regional Council headquarters transformed into a new hotel, shops, bars and restaurants.

However, a number of heritage groups, including Historic Scotland, have raised concerns about the development, which was given the go-ahead by Edinburgh City Council on Wednesday (30 November).

But not everyone agrees about the wisdom of retaining the 1968 office block. Referred to as an 'eyesore' in the local press, the building even comes in for criticism from Pevsner, which grumbles about how 'the smooth line of Victoria Street below is inexplicably carried on in hammer-dressed stone'.

And a spokesperson from RMJM was also happy to see the building come down. She said: 'Edinburgh's Royal Mile has been reinvigorated over the past few years, especially since the construction of the Scottish Parliament. We are glad that this trend of regeneration is continuing further up the Royal Mile and hope that high-quality design continues to flourish in the city centre.'

by Richard Waite

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