Saturday, 28 September 2013


This weekend Edinburgh celebrates Doors Open days with buildings of architectural and cultural importance being opened for free public access across the city.
One building proposed for inclusion was Canongate Venture but the doors remain furmly SHUT as City of Edinburgh Council officials deem it TOO DANGEROUS to enter!

Despite it being used over the summer for the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Could it be because there are only days left to object to the new Caltongate plans?

 Should this building be altered to create a huge bar/cafe and confrence suite

Instead of being able to judge the value of this beautiful building from your own experiences of visiting it you will have to rely on the hundreds of documents produced for the planning applications

This building is over 100years Old and still solid and functional (although in need of a bit of TLC) and in great demand by local groups who wish to see it returned to the community for repair and reuse. The Canongate Venture playground is needed by the community for playspace and community gardens but the plans will see it developed over for another hotel!

How to guidance on previous posts.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Caltongate Plans

For those of you still struggling to view plans of the new proposals here are some images produced by the development team to demonstrate the 'quality' of design and 'placemaking' however they do more to illustrate 
what's wrong with the plans!

First up The new Ark hotel from New St

the hotel will retain the Canongate fa├žade of the Ark but will rebuild the whole plot for hotel use including the 18 homes which have been left vacant for over 5 years, and create a huge hole for pedestrian (?) access.

The back of the hotel will have another entrance from the new public (but privately owned and managed) square and is a large bland 6 storey block overshadowing the new public square. World (heritage) class hotel or poor design?

18 homes will be lost (half of which are council stock) No housing (either replacement or new) will be included in the Southern Site any more as the developers claim suitable and sufficient housing is already approved elsewhere.

The private housing and social housing that developers refer to in the plans are NOT part of the new applications. There is no guarantee they will ever be delivered and they cannot be 'claimed' as benefits of the applications now being considered.

approved private housing block
private housing courtyard
Social housing at Calton Road
The private housing approved lies to the east of the public square will have a courtyard with shops and bars. Social housing is approved for 1 and 2 bed only with no amenities at Calton Road. 

Back to what the plans DO include!

Canongate Venture is no longer proposed for total demolition but plans indicate the redevelopment of this building will include some demolitions and is proposed for licensed and conference uses with new glass box extensions to the front and rear. Is this really the best design they can imagine?

Canongate Venture with hotel development over playground
No community/workshop/affordable business use is included to replace that lost in Canongate Venture.

Cranston St will no longer be realigned but the common good land and Canongate Venture playground will now be developed for 2 x 6 story hotels

This common good land is home to an old market building in council use as a garage and was previously approved for offices AND a small social housing development.

The new plans for the Arches on Jeffrey St will cover them up with a Glass wall providing unspecified 'leisure' uses with bars restaurants and cafes. 

Although the building does not extend above Jeffrey St and provides a 'viewing platform' and kiosk cafe at street level this part of the development will result in the loss of usable public space on Cranston Street which is sheltered sunny and animated with trees and obscure the Listed arches and elegant curve of the street.

The impact of all these developments on the character, quality and authenticity of the World Heritage site is significant and hugely damaging and will be seen form all angles. The scale of the changes can clearly be seen from Calton Hill!


Log on to Edinburgh Council website to comment


or write to
David Leslie (Head of Planning) and Jennifer Paton (Case Officer)
City of Edinburgh Council
Waverley Court
East Market St

or email AND


Planning Service
City of Edinburgh Council
Waverley Court,
East Market St

Dear Sirs

I wish to lodge an objection to Planning Application 13/03407/FUL and the associated Listed building and demolition applications which relate to this Major Planning Application Site and seek consent for

Redevelopment, demolitions and erection of new buildings for mixed commercial uses and hotels
at (Caltongate) Southern Site, Canongate/New Street, East Market St and Cranston St

My reasons for objecting are; 

The proposed demolitions and partial demolitions do not comply with current Local and National environmental, heritage and sustainability policies, including Edinburgh Local Plan Environment Policies Env 1, Env 2, Env 3, Env 4, Env 5, Env 6, and Env 12.

The proposed developments are of a design standard that does not reflect or respect the historic location and do not comply with Edinburgh Local Plan Design Policies Des1, Des 3 and Des 6. 

The planned uses are not clear and the development will encourage increased antisocial behaviour, noise and nuscience to existing city centre residents which is not controlled through good planning.

The plans do not adress the needs or desires of the local community and will not provide for the long term sustainable regeneration of the city.

There is not development viability provided, the plans are purely speculative

The proposed 'public' square will remain in private ownership and management, and as such does not improve the public realm.
The mix of uses as proposed will increase the excessive existing traffic and servicing pressures in the local area, causing unacceptable noise and pollution.
The design is ugly and uses too much glass
The housing to be demolished should be replaced within the Southern Site

REMEMBER use your own words/experience/opinions in your letter

Design, traffic impact, architectural quality, pollution, sustainability, employment and business opportunities, community facilities,the mix of uses and the impact on residents and other users are all MATERIAL issues for planning and can be included.

(we have now been advised the consultation WILL close on 1st OCTOBER)

It is a good idea to keep a copy of your objection and to copy your letter to your local councillors and MSP's  This is a historic site on their doorstep, it lies between  Parliament and the City Chambers and should demonstrate that new policies on placemaking and sustainability are viable and achievable.

You can find details of your elected representatives here

Monday, 23 September 2013

New Caltongate Plans - comment NOW!

After alot of time pouring through hundreds of documents we can now reveal some images of the new plans for the Caltongate Site at Canongate/ East Market St.

The developers Artisan have made big issue of having responded to previous objections and creating a more sympathetic and viable development so it is a great disappointment to see  
another bland scheme presented which is focused on providing more tourist accommodation
 (hotels) with lots of provision for bars/cafes and restaurants to provide 'night-time' activity.

East Market St/Arches before and after development

The new planning application for the 'Southern Site' covers the publicly owned Arches, Common Good land and Canongate Venture,as well as The Ark and neighbouring McRae tenements on the Royal Mile (half of which are council flats)
Planning Application 13/03407/FUL  for the Demolition, Redevelopment and Erection of buildings for mixed use development comprises
  • A Hotel over Ark and Royal Mile tenaments with double height pend, cafes/bar and commercial use at ground/mezzaine levels retaining rubble facade but no housing on the Mile.
  • Removal of Railings,playground,terrace and basement to Canongate Venture and erection of a smaller glass extension with roof terrace on East Market St and a glass extension to rear of CanongateVenture (plans indicate the ground floor to become a huge open plan cafe/bar/resturant with conference facilities on the upper floor).
  • 2 x 6 story hotels with commercial uses on East Market St over the Common Good market and CanongteVenture playground. 
  • A Glass fronted 2 story 'leisure' complex to be built over the open space beside the Arches and conversion of the Arches to Retail and Cafe/bar/resturant uses.

Hotel developments over Common Good Market and Canongate Venture playground
 NO housing to be included in this site any more, even the previous approved plan included some housing (8 flats on Common Good land and a number of Royal Mile flats retained). The focus is on providing 3 Hotels.

The plans are uninspired bland architecture and there appears to be unspecified uses for all the buildings proposed, They include lots of possible uses - hotel, club, restaurant, retail, bar. cafe, leisure, office etc - but do not define the balance or what goes where. This makes assessing the impact of the development and the traffic/servicing impossible!

The fear for many is this development will result in the destruction of this unique historic Market Street to become yet another drinking destination for Stag and Hens.
 Recent news of an operator looking to develop a 'pod' hotel for this purpose demonstrates these fears are a real possibility.

If you care what happens to your city centre then now is the time to OBJECT

 You can still comment on this Major Application
 for the development of the Southern Site on the Edinburgh Council
 Planning Portal using the Reference  13/03407/FUL.

Objections need to be submitted 

Remember to ensure your objections are considered 'Material'

If you cannot use the planning portal, objections can be submitted by email or handed in (make sure you include the reference number) to

Jennifer Paton (case officer) 
Planning Service
City of Edinburgh Council
Waverley Court
East Market St

(usually a good idea to get a receipt) 
 Email planning contacts: (general help desk)