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Outcry at plan to demolish historic Edinburgh building

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Conservationists are up in arms following a planning U-turn which could see a B-listed building demolished as part of the massive Quartermile project in the city's Old Town.

The historic Red Home building was originally meant to be kept as part of Foster and Partners' £400 million redevelopment of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh site, but is now in line for demolition in a brazen backtrack.

Under the proposal, which is yet to be approved by the Scottish Executive, the building would be torn down to make way for a new L-shaped office block.

Heritage body Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH) has slammed the proposals, claiming the former nurses' accommodation should remain intact to ensure a balance is kept between the existing eight listed buildings and the 19 new blocks.

EWH director Zoe Clark said: '[We believe] that the demolition of the Red Home has not been properly justified by the developer.

'The Red Home is a very distinctive building and an important reminder of the area's heritage. We do not believe that the condition of the building or adapting it to other uses has been fully explored.

'Quartermile could still be an exemplar of reuse and complementary new design, but it risks becoming a high-density luxury housing scheme that pays lip service to conservation and world-heritage values.'

by Richard Vaughan

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