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Plan for second chamber

Foulkes bids to turn Royal High into Senate

Royal High School hotel 3

The former Royal High School in Edinburgh should be turned into a second chamber for the Scottish parliament, according to a Labour peer.

Former MSP George Foulkes will today argue in the House of Lords a Senate would provide checks on SNP power and he believes the empty building on Calton Hill is the ideal venue.

It is currently subject to plans to convert it into a five-star hotel and a rival bid for it to become a music school.

The building, and A-listed building – designed in Greek revival style by Thomas Hamilton and opened in 1829 – was earmarked for the Scottish Assembly in 1979 in the event of the country voting in favour of devolution. Former Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar ruled against it becoming the home of the new parliament in 1999.

Lord Foulkes is now moving an amendment to the Scotland Bill to create a 46-member senate elected by single transferable vote. He has at least one Liberal Democrat supporter, though the motion looks likely to be defeated.

The RHS is favoured as a luxury hotel by those who believe the city is due a top-end brand to attract more international visitors. However, the design and extension proposed (pictured) for the has drawn wide criticism.

Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, which runs 18 hotels worldwide, including the Carlyle Hotel in New York and the Hôtel de Crillion in Paris, has been announced as operator.

St Mary’s Music School has also submitted plans for the building supported by the Royal High School Preservation Trust.

 

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