Is Edinburgh about to lose its world-heritage status?
Posted on: 14 January 2016 by Steve Harper
Recently, two new hotels planned for Edinburgh have led to concerns that the city is in danger of losing its reputation as a world heritage site, including the possible loss of it’s UNESCO status.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland since the 15th century, is undeniably home to some stunning architecture. New sits next to old successfully, respecting the ancient architecture, whilst complimenting it with modern additions that allow for progress.
The Bronze Ribbon Hotel has been passed around at the Council for a while, the design set to wrap around the St James Centre. Style is only a partial concern, with many raising issue with the height of the proposed hotel. The proposal breaks many of the development policies in the city, obstructing views from vantage points of the famous skyline. The other hotel development causing concern is the proposed transformation of the Old Royal High School building, situated on Carlton Hill. The plans, which would see the building developed into a luxury five-star hotel, have been condemned by Historic Scotland. The 200-year-old building would mostly remain intact, with glass galleries leading to guest rooms on the terrace.
Visitor numbers to Edinburgh have increased by 10% each year for the last 12 years. With demand at an all-time high for luxury accomodation and apartments, and hotels looking to spend their money to meet this demand, where do we draw the line on developing the city? ETAG asked 1,500 people why they visited Edinburgh and 68% said they wanted to see the historic city, rich in history and culture, with architecture playing a huge part.
Could the answer even be a vacant part of town that houses an even Newer Town? Finding such space, with demand for it as a central location would not be easy. So would this be a fantastic opportunity to put a wonderful historic building back to use, or should we be protecting these buildings and our city? The jury’s out!