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Richard Murphy's Edinburgh hotel blocked


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)

  • Oh dear - the Chamber of Horrors and Birse again.

    How increasingly irrelevant they are.

    For more read


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  • Sad really that it should come to this, a combination of the developer paying too much for the site and the consequent over development and the wrong choice of architect, operating outwith his comfort zone.

    The building was a horror admittedly but the response from the heritage police and UNESCO apologists purile.

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  • That would be the 'purile' (sic) 'heritage police' (what a ridiculous phrase) and UNESCO which managed to have this called in and defeated at public inquiry? That sounds good enough to me.

    The Cockburn Association is to be commended for its actions in leading the charge, funded by public donations, against this unwelcome, overlarge and unsuitable development.

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  • Comment one was posted by Save Our Old Town.
    www.eh8.org.uk, the campaign against the appalling Caltongate development (criticized by UNESCO and anyone with any sense as being bad for the Old Town).

    The phrase 'empty and pretty useless' seems to apply to the contents of the heads of certain Edinburgh architects; although devoid of talent, they are big in the mouth and ego department. Caltongate has bitten the dust, Haymarket Tower, Missoni a carbuncle, where will it end? So many seem to have problems with erections.

    Presumably the last commentator has had an early bevvy or two in some back alley doorway in the Old Town and in his cheap alcohol fuelled daze now thinks he's being witty.

    Under age drinking is a real problem these days. It rots the brain cells, and renders the victims incoherent, incomprehensible, and incontinent.


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  • "Older ruins" very good. Alastair Sim as Millicent Fritton in The Belles of St. Trinian's, that's Buttress. Both are from Edinburgh.

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  • mmmm.......I always think Margaret Rutherford "comic actress with a face like a startled bloodhound"

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  • Not so sure Buttress is from Edinburgh. Her blog's like a heritage version of the Eye of Sauron.

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  • of course, Mordor's also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

    Not from Edinburgh? how disappointing, is she one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit then?

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  • How dare you. Had it not been for Buttress, SOOT and the collapse of the world economy Caltongate would have been built!

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  • True, the Buttress may be a joke but she was right about the Haymarket tower. It is a dog of a building.

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