Edinburgh New Town 1980s office blocks set for demolition

Edinburgh planning chiefs are set to approve plans to demolish two 1980s office blocks to make way for housing and business space.

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The application, lodged by Morgan McDonnell Architecture on behalf of Walker Street-based Square & Crescent Ltd, asks planning officers for permission to demolish two buildings on the corner of Dundas Street and Fettes Row.

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The two office buildings will then be replaced by one large building, comprising three commercial units on the ground floor and 50 flats on the floors above.

An artist's impression of the building

Set for the axe is Centrum House, which sits at 108-114 Dundas Street, and Bupa House, at 116 Dundas Street.

A planning statement, submitted by Morgan McDonnell Architecture, for consideration by members of Edinburgh City Council’s planning committee, states: “Both buildings rise from ground level on Henderson Place, two storeys below the street level of Dundas Street and Fettes Row, to a total of seven storeys.

“Level 00 at Henderson Place includes car parking for 35 vehicles and plant facilities with the remaining levels above allocated to office accommodation.

“Whilst the buildings are in reasonable structural condition, due to their age the mechanical and electrical systems are at the end of their service life and require replacement.

“Such a comprehensive refurbishment to meet modern occupational specification requirements would involve a considerable cost that can not be justified without a significant increase in the rental values.

“Based on market experts such an increase could not be supported at this location.”

The site is located within the New Town Conservation Area, but is outside the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, which is a vital driver for tourism.

The proposals are set to be heard at a meeting of the council’s development management committee on Wednesday September 8, where planning officers are recommending that councillors approve the application.

A report, sent to councillors ahead of the meeting, reads: “The impacts on the amenity of existing and future residents are acceptable, the development will have no adverse impact on road safety or infrastructure and the loss of trees is acceptable.

“The proposal therefore complies with the development plan and is acceptable, subject to conditions and a legal agreement. There are no other material considerations which outweigh this conclusion.”

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