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Richard Murphy's Edinburgh hotel blocked

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Scottish ministers have rejected plans to build a luxury hotel designed by Richard Murphy Architects as part of a £250m project in Edinburgh

The 17-storey building had been approved by councillors but the Scottish Government said the site would affect views of the city’s world-famous castle.

The hotel was planned as the centrepiece of a £250 million overhaul of a four-acre site next to Haymarket railway station in Edinburgh that has been derelict for 40 years. The scheme had faced repeated criticism from Architecture and Design Scotland during its troubled history.

A report said: ‘In urban design terms, the landmark five-star hotel would fail to respect the grain and scale of the surrounding townscape, dominating the Haymarket space to the detriment of its neighbours.’

It added: ‘The impact on the city skyline would not preserve the setting of the world heritage site or prominent listed buildings which are landmark features within it.’

In June this year - apparently in response to Murphy’s plans and another £300 million Old Town scheme - Unesco called for the creation of a ‘buffer zone’ to introduce strict controls over developments just outside the city’s world heritage site.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said the decision to reject the Tiger Developments proposal was an ‘enormous setback’.

Graham Birse, from the Chamber of Commerce said: ‘By reaching this conclusion ministers have done nothing to encourage sustainable development in our capital city at a time when the longest recession in living memory is making deep and painful inroads into our economy.

‘This project was ready to roll, and offered £250m investment, 2,150 jobs and a five-star hotel.’


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Readers' comments (21)

  • I think the ministers have got this one right. On a brighter note you would be glad to hear that the tourism industry in Scotland's capital has been given a major boost after it emerged the number of hotel rooms sold last month soared by ten per on the previous year. Some 68 per cent of all rooms in hotels in edinburgh were said to have been sold throughout December with a hike in bookings more than making up for hoteliers having to cut some of their rates. The average value of rooms, a key indicator for the industry, rose from £51.33 in December 2008 to £54.97, an increase of seven per cent. The figures, produced by Lynn Jones Research, also reveal that 97 per cent of rooms were filled in Edinburgh over Hogmanay, up from 96 per cent last year. This was despite the number of tickets for the city's Hogmanay street party being cut from 100,000 to 80,000. Not bad during a recession.

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