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Edinburgh council leader continues to throw stones at glass houses

Edinburgh's controversial new city leader Jenny Dawe has continued her attack on modern architecture, insisting glass is over-used in the city, with the material not suitable for a World Heritage site.

The newly elected Liberal Democrat said: 'In an area where the buildings are mainly old tenements with small windows, the use of glass as the main building material, instead of stone, tends to look incongruous.'

Dawe acknowledged modern glass is a 'great material', citing office buildings at Edinburgh Park business zone, but said it was now an 'over-used material'.

However, the city leader vehemently rejected allegations of being 'anti-development' following her attack on so-called 'glass box' architecture.

'Although I have been portrayed as anti-development because of my comments, this is certainly not the case,' said Dawe. 'My main concern is that glass boxes do not seem to fit into the older parts of Edinburgh - both Old Town and New Town.'

Earlier this month Dawe blasted Malcolm Fraser Architects' Caltongate scheme as'grotesque and hideous' (Fraser forced on the defensive after Edinburgh scheme dubbed 'grotesque'). The project is part £300 million development transforming a vast swathe of the city's Old Town.

'Edinburgh has to move on but we have a duty to respect what has gone before,' said Dawe. 'And I don't think this is so with what I have seen of Caltongate.'

Further outrage was triggered last week when Dawe hit out at radical plans to modernise Edinburgh's Haymarket Station and extend the city zoo. She also dismissed a proposed high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow as 'pie in the sky'.

However, the council head has since attempted to dampen the furore by insisting her views were 'personal' and did not signal a new direction for the council's planning department.

by Clive Walker

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