List reduced

Investment saves ‘at risk’ heritage buildings

Saved: former bank and Royal High School (pics: Terry Murden)

A list of the most treasured historic buildings in Edinburgh deemed to be “at risk” has fallen from 16 to just two following investment by hoteliers, home builders and other businesses.

In 2012, there were 16 Category ‘A’ listed buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register which has been maintained by Historic Environment Scotland.

The buildings, which were deemed to be of “international significance” have been repaired, refurbished and brought back into public use, often following long periods lying vacant.

They include Chris Stewart Group’s conversion of an empty bank building in St Andrew Square into the Edinburgh Grand hotel, as well as the company’s restoration of 1-3 Baxter’s Place, now also a hotel.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti is playing a key role in turning the former Royal High School on Regent Terrace into a music school, saving five buildings.

Virgin Hotels’ development in the Old Town, due for completion in the spring, will remove four buildings from the register, including the landmark India Buildings and the 160 year old Cowgatehead Free Church.

Others include the restoration of the home of economist Adam Smith in Canongate, now a business school.

The two A-listed sites still regarded as being at risk are the upper floors of All Bar One’s building on George Street, which is planned to be converted into flats, and a property on Dublin Street North that has been sold.

Planning Convener Neil Gardiner said: “We work extremely hard with our partners, including Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland to protect our historic built environment, and with owners to support them to find the best outcome for their properties.

Buildings being worked on and those restored in the last ten years:

The Old Royal High School is to become a music school

India Buildings on Victoria Street will shortly reopen as a hotel

The City Observatory is now an art gallery for contemporary art

The former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf, including the gate lodges, has been restored and transformed into housing

Riddle’s Court in the Lawnmarket is now the headquarters of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Acheson House is home to Edinburgh World Heritage

Panmure House is now Heriot Watt’s Edinburgh Business school

Upper floors of 30 Princes Street, including the gilded globe roof sculpture of the former Forsyth’s department store, are now a hotel

27 and 29-31 Melville Street has been turned into offices

9 Rutland Square has been brought back into residential use

26 Heriot Row has been brought back into residential use

8 Blenheim Place has been brought back into residential use

1-3 Baxter’s Place is now a hotel

42 St Andrew Square is now the Edinburgh Grand

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