There's been a major twist in the battle for the old Royal High School’s future shape and use. 

Duddingston House Properties (DHP) has requested a delay to its appeal while it submits a new proposal (see pdf at foot of page). 

DHP was refused planning permission and listed building consent for its luxury-hotel plans in December 2015 (Breaking news, 17.12.15). In March 2016, it launched an appeal with the Scottish Government against those decisions (Breaking news, 29.3.15). That appeal was scheduled to be heard in September 2016. 

But now, DHP’s legal representative has written to the Reporters saying that – based on discussions with City of Edinburgh Council officials – DHP has an alternative proposal.

This alternative comprises a different economic model and a different scale of development. (We presume it is smaller.) It is – according to DHP – every bit as viable as the previous proposal and in no sense detracts from the latter.

DHP will begin a pre-application notification process for the new plans next week, and will submit a detailed planning application early in December.

Given that the new plans will almost certainly be called in by Scottish Ministers, DHP is now requesting that the original appeal be delayed (‘sisted’ in legal parlance), and that both proposals be considered by Reporters side by side in 2017.

As we understand it, the Royal High School Preservation Trust (the body behind the St Mary’s Music School plan; see Issue 255), the Regent, Royal and Carlton Terraces Association, and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland have objected to the sist. Historic Environment Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council have accepted the sist. But Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association have not yet responded.

To non-experts, DHP’s approach may sound a little like having one’s cake and eating it. It is also surprising given the emphasis DHP has placed in the past on the necessary connection between the scale of its first proposal and the economic logic behind it. But it is nonetheless a perfectly explicable, legal and legitimate line to take, and not even that surprising given the high stakes.

A decision on whether or not the sist would be granted was expected to be made today. However, we don’t yet know the result.


 Claire Miller ‏@clairehimiller

Claire Miller Retweeted Broughton Spurtle

Just when you thought it was safe to relax about the music school proposal for the Old Royal High School...

oldRoyalHigh ‏@oldRoyalHigh

oldRoyalHigh Retweeted Broughton Spurtle

Explains why @HeusdenTaco been so quiet, he's been coming up with a better scheme, better than his last best plan.

@theSpurtle I said RHSPT 'victory' could prove Pyrrhic. If smart, DHP will now copy layout - plenty of Rosewood hotels in 40-60 room range.

 Broughton Spurtle ‏@theSpurtle

@EdinburghSSC You did indeed, and are quoted in Issue 255 out tomorrow.

@theSpurtle Honoured... though as predictions go it wasn't much of a stretch! This'll run till at least 2022 so plenty more twists to come!

@EdinburghSSC @theSpurtle Yeah, a lot of folk saying that's exactly what they're going to do. I reckon around 65 rooms.

@theSpurtle Heritage groups hasty to back demolition of A-listed buildings, significant newbuild & interventions to RHS? Precedent now set.

. @EdinburghSSC@theSpurtle interestingly @GrahamBirse makes it a year earlier: March 2021

SSC Edinburgh ‏@EdinburghSSC

@oldRoyalHigh @theSpurtle So only a 5 year window rather than 6 to find a workable hotel plan? I'm sure RHSPT will be relieved.

@alistairkgrant @theSpurtle Any word if they are sticking with Hoskins Architects? If they wanted to get really cheeky they'd hire RMA + S&B

Alistair Grant ‏@alistairkgrant

@EdinburghSSC@theSpurtle Im not sure. We have stuff in tomorrow's paper, but it was @brianjaffa who was working on it.

Euan MacGuzzi McGlynn Why oh why did our councillors sign yet again another bad contract.

Lorraine Moore Ugh

Kenris MacLeod And here we go...

Paul Foley Oh dear...

Bill Dunlop Well, there'a a surprise...

Patrick Hadfield Extreme dislike!

Paul Burgess They just won't give up!

Karen Dietz No no no no no


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