Objection raised to new venue
Concert hall ‘too large and too tall’ says heritage group
Venue with a view: objectors say new concert hall would blight the RBS building (artist’s impression)
Heritage campaigners are urging a rethink over the proposed new concert hall in Edinburgh, claiming it will spoil views of the historic Royal Bank of Scotland building overlooking St Andrew Square.
The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland has lodged objections to the £45 million planned venue which they want to see reduced in scale.
Architect Sir David Chipperfield designed the new 1,000-capacity concert venue which would occupy a site immediately behind Dundas House which was built in 1774 and still operates as an RBS branch.
The AHSS argues that the new building would “tower above” its New Town neighbour, detracting from the historic building’s character, greatly diminishing its special interest and status as the focal point of the east end of Edinburgh’s New Town plan”.
The concert venue will have a rooftop dome and a glass-covered walkway giving views down George Street and of the Castle.
It is being promoted by Impact Scotland, chaired by Ewan Brown, and is intended to be home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra attracting more than 250,000 visitors a year.
In its submission to Edinburgh City Council, the AHSS states: “As the most important town house in Edinburgh and arguably in all of Scotland, it is imperative that any development is carried out with extreme sensitivity in order to protect the character and special interest of this outstanding listed building.
“While we welcome the proposal to build a new concert venue, we have concerns regarding the excessive scale and massing of the proposed extension, which, far from being subordinate to the listed building, will tower above it.
“This will detract from its character, greatly diminishing its special interest and status as the focal point of the east end of Edinburgh’s New Town.
“The proposal is too large and too tall for such a restricted plot, surrounded as it is by listed buildings, and as such represents an overdevelopment of the site. We’re also concerned about the way the proposed concert hall butts up against Dundas House.”
However, the project has won support from the Cockburn Association which states: “We welcome the considerable effort the developers have undertaken to positively consult with a wide variety of stakeholders throughout the development of the final design for this project.
“We acknowledge and welcome changes made throughout the design process because of the meaningful consultation and engagement exercises. Within the constraints of the available site, the proposed concert hall is an effective and positive use of space.”