City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Council Approves Controversial Edinburgh Old Town Development

By edg - Posted on 06 February 2008

Edinburgh City Council today approved controversial plans for Caltongate, the huge property development in Edinburgh's Old Town.

Plans put forward by London-based developer Mountgrange to build a luxury hotel and an office complex, with what will be Edinburgh's second largest conference facility after the EICC, have been approved and Mountgrange is likely to get approval for 200 new homes, with retail outlets, restaurants and bars.

However, Mountgrange was asked to put on hold the most contentious of its plans to knock-down all but the facade of 1930s Canongate tenements, and instead find ways of creating affordable housing.

The £300 million development on the site of the former New Street bus station has received more than 2,000 objections, given rise to citizen's group Save Our Old Town (SOOT) and come in for heavy criticism from Edinburgh Heritage organisations.

The Cockburn Association and Edinburgh World Heritage Association say Caltongate "fails to respect the very special character of the Old Town", a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tourism promoter VisitScotland and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce have backed the scheme saying Edinburgh's local economy will benefit from the added facilities.

Following the City of Edinburgh Council decision, Scottish Ministers will now make a final decision on the Caltongate project.