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Allan Murray comes up against his latest opponent in Edinburgh - the Church

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First it was members of the council opposing Allan Murray Architects' Caltongate masterplan in Edinburgh, then the police became involved, now it seems even God is against it.

Work on the £300 million development was expected to start within months, but the plans have been delayed after the Church of Scotland raised fears that the scheme will ruin views of the city's Canongate Kirk.

It was hoped that work would begin on the Calton Road part of the overall scheme, thought to be one of the least controversial parts of the masterplan, but church leaders have called for Edinburgh City Council to investigate the effect of the new buildings.

It is just the latest in a long line of obstacles that Allan Murray's masterplan has had to overcome.

The development has faced serious opposition from members of the council, and the council's leader Lib Dem Jenny Dawe even went so far to call a Malcolm Fraser-designed scheme, which is part of the Caltongate masterplan, 'grotesque'.

Police also expressed concerns that the design of the public realm might encourage groups of troublemakers to congregate.

The latest complaint came in the form of a letter, printed in the Edinburgh Evening News, from a session clerk at Canongate Kirk, who believes the Calton Road development is at least 'one storey too high'.

It is believed that members of the city's planning committee will carry out a site visit before the scheme is submitted to the council for planning in the coming weeks.

by Richard Vaughan

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