An unnamed ‘global technology company’ seeks permission to convert 42 Shandwick Place from retail use to a Class 10 training and education centre (Ref. 18/01596/FUL; 18/01597/ADV). 

The idea for the facility is ‘to provide free training for anyone looking to gain essential digital skills, including young job seekers, small businesses and entrepreneurs’. 


CBRE Ltd, the agent handling the case, won’t name its client for reasons of confidentiality. However, it says in its Planning Statement that ‘This concept has been rolled-out in various locations globally, and across the UK’, but this would be the first such example in Scotland. 

This initiative would be free of charge and promises significant beneficial impacts for Edinburgh and surrounding areas, ‘helping to teach skills which will be essential for future economic growth and social wellbeing’.

The application would entail refurbishment of the existing shop front and internal ground floor and basement. The ground floor would be used for free training classes for the public on digital skills, and provide mixed-use study spaces. If the scheme goes ahead, customers would be able to access free 1:1 coaching and training for a number of different topics.

The unit (a former Poundstretcher) would open 7 days a week, between 10am and 6pm (Monday–Saturday) and between 11am and 4pm on Sunday. However, the change of use sought is only for 12 months. After that, the unnamed client will  ‘exit’.

So, who is the mystery applicant?

Nobody’s saying, but our money is on Google, which launched an offer of free digital-skills training for everyone in the UK back in November 2016.

At that stage they were trailing 5-hour courses online and in 100 locations across the country, starting in 2017.

Google’s Digital Garages are already up and running in Birmingham, Manchester ad Sheffield. 

We contacted Google yesterday morning for a comment. We have yet to receive a reply.


42 Shandwick Place
55° 56' 58.8012" N, 3° 12' 35.3268" W