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Shelved '80s design for Royal Tattoo arena re-emerges in Edinburgh

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A design from the 1980s for a city-centre arena by Edinburgh practice Morris and Steadman Associates is at the heart of a row over the Royal Military Tattoo.

The scheme (pictured) re-emerged after both the city council and safety campaigners expressed concerns about the existing venue, the temporary stand erected on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade.

The proposals - which reached detailed design stage in 1989 - would construct a permanent arena in the Princes Street Gardens in the shadow of the castle and could be used for more events than simply the tattoo.

However, the city's powerful heritage lobby was horrified when the designs were first mooted, successfully persuading council officials to shelve them.

Morris and Steadman director Philip Flockhart said he was astonished when the old plans re-emerged: 'This project has been gathering dust for some years now and no one had given it much thought? but there is no doubting that this would be extremely difficult to get through planning and we could only really get the go-ahead if we developed it in conjunction with the council.'

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