Submitted by Editor on Sun, 16/05/2010 - 08:04

Sceptics have been casting doubt in recent weeks on John Lewis’s ability to stay open during dismantlement of  New St Andrew’s House next year. They have argued that even if conventional noise  and disruption caused by the project did not force temporary closure, the risk of exposing the public to airborne asbestos surely would.

However, Barry Matheson – Managing Director of the Edinburgh branch – remains upbeat if a little vague on detail: ‘We are working closely with Henderson Global Investment [HGI] ... so we can continue trading as normal throughout the redevelopment,' he told Spurtle.

‘A comprehensive risk assessment will be undertaken and we will ensure the safety of our Partners and customers while the work is in progress.'

Meanwhile HGI have revised proposals for the St James Quarter, reducing office and housing space to reflect a projected downturn in demand due to the Recesion.

Some 90 shops remain in the plan, and a new hotel will occupy part of the galleria. There is also talk of building a small, fully digital multiplex cinema which could show sports events and double as a conference or Festival venue. It would not, HGI insist, spoil the  Vue.