Submitted by Editor on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 06:44


A changed economic climate in the wake of Covid-19 has forced Ediston and Orion Capital Managers to scrap plans for an upmarket hotel as part of the New Town North development between Dundas Street and King George V Park. [See update at foot of page.]

Up to 79 additional residential units, including affordable housing, may now occupy the same footprint previously earmarked for hospitality, matching the dimensions of the formerly envisaged structure (marked 5 on the plan below).


Developers had previously been scheduled to make a final presentation to the New Town & Broughton Community Council on 14 September, but the change of plan will require a new Proposal of Application Notice process of online consultation with community stakeholders, expected to be announced shortly.

The announcement came yesterday, following weeks of perplexing delay. The original full application (including a hotel) and environmental impact assessment will still be submitted at the end of this month, but with the new separate PAN application eventually running alongside it.

Speculation about the hotel among locals has proved accurate, and in the short term their attention will likely return to parking provision. There had long been concern that insufficient onsite spaces would result in neighbouring streets becoming clogged.

An additional consideration will be the as yet unknown number of new residents, and their impact on local medical, educational, and transport services.

Ediston’s Development Director Ross McNulty says, ‘Our review has shown our proposals to be robust despite the impact on the Covid-19 crisis, but it has also highlighted the need to consider an alternative use to the hotel.

‘… Edinburgh’s economy is one of the strongest and most resilient in the UK and we are encouraged that New Town Quarter remains on track.”’

Developers claim the project, now renamed The New Town Quarter, will support 700 jobs during construction and boost the city centre by £27M in Gross Added Value.

This is the latest twist in a long-running story. The most recent (third) round of consultation took place in April and was reported here.

Observers will doubtless wonder what effect similar Covid-19-related economic pressures will have on other hotel proposals for the old Royal High School, the Golden Turd, and the Jenner's and Debenham's buildings on Princes Street.


Update, 09:35, 21.08.20: We overstated matters in saying developers had scrapped plans for a hotel. Ediston's Ross McNulty has been in touch to say that it's more a matter of keeping options open at a very difficult time for the hospitality market. A decision on which use to go for has not yet been made, he says, and will follow at an as yet undetermined date following further discussion with industry experts. For the record, Mr McNulty also clarified that while the timing of the full application and EIA may have perplexed locals, it was always understood by those behind the project and had been publicly explained on more than one occasion.