Gleneagles Hotel objects to Edinburgh concert hall plans over noise concerns

It is a planning dispute of the virtual age, with two as yet non-existent institutions at loggerheads over potential noise.

The Gleneagles estate, which is developing a hotel in Edinburgh, has objected to an attempt to build a concert hall nearby.

Management at the Gleneagles Edinburgh Hotel, which is set to open on the east side of St Andrew Square, has officially lodged a letter of objection to proposals to build the first concert hall in the city for more than 100 years, the Impact Centre.

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If approved by councillors later this month, the 1,000-seat auditorium will also include a 200-seat studio for performances, rehearsals and records as well as rooms for education and conferences. The open foyer will host music performances and a cafe bar.

New designs for IMPACT Scotland new concert hall in St Andrew SquareNew designs for IMPACT Scotland new concert hall in St Andrew Square
New designs for IMPACT Scotland new concert hall in St Andrew Square

The Impact Centre will also become home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and will be used as a venue for the Edinburgh International Festival.

Gleneagles owner Ennismore is transforming two empty premises into a 33-bedroom hotel. The hotel has lodged an objection against the Impact Centre plans after the concert hall paperwork failed to recognise the hotel as potentially being affected by noise.

Charles Harte, project director for The Gleneagles Hotel, said: “Whilst checking recently provided additional reports for the Impact development, we noted that the noise impact assessment fails to identify Gleneagles Hotel as a noise sensitive neighbour. We’re creating a world class facility for guests from all over the world. All we’re seeking to ensure is that the impact for our guests of any proposals is fairly and properly assessed and consistent with environmental policies and standards.”

He added: “Gleneagles is a world-leading 5 star brand and we believe that it’s vital that all the information on the application is properly gathered and that the correct procedures are followed in this regard.”

The noise impact assessment, resubmitted in February, points to neighbouring properties but make no mention of the Gleneagles Hotel.Serviced apartments being developed at 42 St Andrew Square, which are further away from the Impact Centre than the Gleneagles Hotel, as well as flats as the adjacent St James Square and the W hotel at the St James development are all mentioned and had noise sensitive receptors.

The report adds: “Based on the proposed constructions, this level of noise will be 
controlled to a level comfortably below the City of Edinburgh Council limit of NR15 within the habitable area of the most onerous neighbouring building. It should be noted that the performing arts spaces have been designed to provide a high sound insulation performance, in order to allow simultaneous use with minimal mutual disturbance.”

The proposals have received the backing of heritage 
watchdog the Cockburn Association, which “welcomes and supports the ambitious plans”.

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A letter to planners added: “In our view this project 
has a very real potential to make a significant positive contribution to the artistic life of the city and to act as a transformative catalyst for the economic, social and artistic revitalisation of the streets, lanes and businesses that surround it.

“Within the constraints of the available site, the proposed concert hall is an effective and positive use of space.”