Submitted by Editor on Mon, 08/12/2014 - 19:48

Essential Edinburgh’s commercialisation of St Andrew Square will take another step forward if its plans to extend the café there are approved (Ref. 14/04840/FUL). 

The proposal is to build a substantial, new, detached, 32 sq.m structure to the rear. Building this storage and loo-pod behind EE's coffee pavilion would form part of a re-fit scheduled for January 2015. Internal areas of the existing business would be upgraded, The current architectural style would be (loosely, in our view) maintained.

By creating extra space, the design would, says EE, allow room for extra seating inside the pavilion and enable ‘more people to enjoy the gardens’.


EE’s application form suggests the plan has come about in response to the Council’s request for the removal of a temporary storage unit which has been standing out in the open.


Spurtle welcomes the removal of the latter, but is uncomfortable about replacing it with an even bigger intrusion, particularly one which further entrenches Essential Edinburgh's business presence in the new funfare-cum-mudbath-cum-year-round-events space.

Many people feel the current state of the garden crudely prioritises EE's constituent businesses in parting visitors from their money. Spurtle sympathises with those who would like to see that process halted and partially reversed in St Andrew Square so that the area can regain some of its former tranquil dignity (Issue 237Breaking news, 28.11.1420.11.14; 22.9.14).

By this logic, the application has approached the problem of storage from the wrong direction. The café requirement for more space presumably stems from its commercial activity exceeding the capacity of its hitherto approved design. Simply reduce or modify that commercial activity, and the problem will be solved without requiring further visual encroachment upon the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

Refusing this application would set down a significant marker. But will locals object in sufficient numbers, and will officials and elected representatives on the Development Management Subcommittee agree? Watch this space.



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A Spurtle reader adds, anonymously:

The pavilion is being operated by Saltire Taverns – no interest in coffee and recently tried to extend occasional licence hours to midnight.
Why would they go to the expense of building all these toilets (that would be stipulated by licensing board) if business was to remain coffee bar?
Essential Edinburgh had an application hearing in October with the Licensing Board; I can only assume the toilets were a condition to fully licensing premises. The operators have already tried to open until midnight, and investment will need to be recouped with extended trading. 

 Rhona Stewart Cameron Time to take away Edinburgh's World Heritage site status as the caretakers ie EDC are sadly lacking in their duty of care.

 Lizzie Rynne ‏@CityCycling

@theSpurtle St Andrews Sq has become an increasingly uncomfortable place to be over the past few years.

@CityCycling And saying so is too easily dismissed as elitism or miserablism. EWHS is huge asset. Mad to dilute it. Site funfair elsewhere.

@theSpurtle aye. Not sure anyway why they need TWO funfairs and TWO icerinks. The skydrive is an overlit monstrosity spoiling the skyline /

@theSpurtle and given these structures feel almost permanent these days...isn't there some issue about getting planning permission?

@theSpurtle T in the Park has to get full planning permission from Perth &Kinross Council. And that is only a 5 day event!!

@CityCycling Could not agree more. Now nobble your councillors.

 Leslie Anderson Why don't they just go the whole hog and pave the whole bloody square over as a permanent retail site? It used to be so lovely when it was first re-landscaped but now it's in permanent chaos.