Developers appointed by City of Edinburgh Council to turn the former Royal High School into a hotel are to appeal against last month’s refusal of their latest plans
Revised and scaled down proposals by Hoskins Architects for a 127-bedroom hotel were thrown out a meeting of the council’s development management subcommittee due to their impact on the Grade A-listed Royal High School building and the location’s World Heritage Site setting.
Today (12 September) Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels, the co-investors and developers behind the project, said they would submit an appeal against the decision to the Scottish Government.
The development team has already one appeal in the pipeline - a challenge against the refusal of a larger, earlier version of the proposals which was rejected in late 2015. The AJ understands Duddingston House will press on with both appeals simultaneously.
Speaknig about the latest appeal, David Orr, co-founder of Urbanist Hotels said: ‘In line with our contractual agreement with City of Edinburgh Council, we remain wholly committed to delivering an outstanding scheme for the old Royal High School, reviving a building which has been allowed to slip into a state of disrepair and neglect for nearly 50 years.
‘We fully recognise the importance of Hamilton’s Old Royal High School Building on a national level and our revised proposals guarantee the future of Hamilton’s masterpiece, both architecturally and financially.’
In 2010, the council itself chose the developers’ proposals as the winner of a competition to select a preferred partner to bring the building back into use.
A fundamental rethink of the design approach in summer 2015 introduced two ‘organic’ wings splaying away from the Neoclassical former school building. This followed the scrapping of a contentious 160-room colonnaded addition that the practice had originally proposed (see AJ 06.02.15).
In December 2015, councillors narrowly rejected this proposal and an appeal against this decision has been on hold with the Scottish Government while the revised proposals were assessed by council planners.
Last year the council’s development management subcommittee granted permission for a rival scheme by Richard Murphy Architects to provide a new home for the city’s St Mary’s Music School, backed by the Royal High School Preservation Trust.
However, this scheme cannot progress because the school does not own the site, and because the hotel developers are in a contract with the council until 2022
Richard Murphy Old Royal High School Edinburgh