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Lee Boyd's new Holyrood extension ‘ups security risk’

Edinburgh City Council has approved Lee Boyd’s controversial plans for a new entrance to the Scottish Parliament, despite expert warnings it represented an ‘enhanced security risk’

The planned addition to Enric Miralles and RMJM’s 2005 Stirling Prize-winning building failed to meet Home Office security guidance, according to one of the architects in charge of security on the original scheme.

John Ramsay, who was second in command of the project and responsible for coordinating design input from the police and Home Office, criticised the proposed anti-terrorism screening facility in a letter commenting on the planning application. 

He said the scheme breached the building’s ‘security stand-off distance’ by placing the public ‘too close’ to a public road.

He added: ‘[All] parts of the building within this stand-off are designed to withstand extraordinary blast forces from vehicle-carried explosive devices. The proposed design appears inadequate to meet this.’

Architects have branded Lee Boyd’s scheme ‘disrespectful’ and called for the original building to be listed.

John Kinsley, project architect for RMJM on the original parliament scheme, raised concern over the ‘creeping fortification of the building’.

‘We worked hard to ensure that the original security requirements were integrated into the architectural concept. The addition of extensive bollards along the full frontage of Horse Wynd and Canongate a couple of years ago destroyed our careful efforts, making the security requirements blatantly overt but without actually improving any of the stand off requirements’, he said.

‘The building is surely of sufficient architectural quality and national interest for it to be listed to prevent this dreadful addition.’

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on the detail of our security measures.’

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