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Outcry greets Hoskins and CDA's Edinburgh proposal

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Gareth Hoskins Architects and CDA have submitted planning permission for this redevelopment of St Andrew Square in Edinburgh, amid local uproar.

The £50 million proposal would transform the listed 1960s derelict Scottish Provident headquarters, while demolishing various other buildings, leaving some conservationists and locals concerned.

Apprehensions around the proposals for St Andrew's Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, focus on the design, with some people comparing it to Edinburgh's most unpopular building, the St James Centre in the city's new town.

Gareth Hoskins, who masterminded the overhaul of the Royal Museum and the new visitor centre at Edinburgh castle, is working alongside CDA, which worked on the Harvey Nichols store.

The two practices have produced what they are calling a 'Modernist icon', despite the concerns voiced by campaigners.

Both practices have had their work cut out, with many city councillors believing the 1960s Scottish Provident offices should have been torn down - despite strong opposition from the city's heritage groups and architectural experts.

Gareth Hoskins says it has handled the redevelopment as 'sympathetically' as possible, despite the differing opinions, and has worked closely with all stakeholders to ensure the design meets everybody's requirements.

However, the designs have still fallen afoul of many stakeholders, with the Cockburn Association claiming it to be 'too showy'.

Moira Tasker, director of the Cockburn Association, said: 'This is one of the most important squares anywhere in the UK, but this new building looks as if it would detract from the existing ones. It's too showy.'

by Richard Vaughan

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