Project Edinburgh

Project Edinburgh is a joint forum of private and public sector stakeholders working together to ensure the regeneration of key locations in the city. Their remit includes attracting inward investment and working across public and private sectors to ensure a joined-up approach to the development of successful places – the city center, Edinburgh’s waterfront, West Edinburgh and Science Triangle.

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TEAM
Project Director Jonathan Guthrie
Project Manager: Jane Dennyson
Project Manager: Hugh Watson
Project Manager Sara Thiam
Stakeholder Manager Kevin Leitch
City of Edinburgh Council, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG. Tel: 0131 469 3562

Development Brief Princes Street Block 10

The development brief area is situated at the eastern end of the city centre and is the least typical of all the development blocks within the CCPSDF area. The brief area is bound by Calton Hill to the north, Calton Road to the south, St. Andrew’s House to the west and the western end of Regent Terrace. For the purposes of this development brief, the boundary of Block 10 has been refined to focus on the former Royal High School campus and a section of Calton Road. The former Royal High School, curtilage buildings and boundary walls are statutorily listed buildings and are within the New Town and Old Town Conservation Areas and World Heritage Site. The development brief also includes the landscape escarpment between Calton Road and Regent Road and the railway bridge over Calton Road.

Block 10 occupies a strategic location between the Old Town and the eastern edge of the city centre. The block has the potential to deliver a cultural and visitor destination and become a key connection between the existing and emerging developments within the Old Town and the St James Quarter. Figure 2 shows the strategic connections around the brief area. The base map (Figure 1) reflects the Mountgrange proposals for Caltongate, which the Council has approved, as consistent with the Caltongate masterplan, subject to the views of Scottish Ministers.

The principal elements which make up the development brief area are the former Royal High School, including curtilage buildings, a disused single storey warehouse on Calton Road and the landscaping area between Regent Road and Calton Road. The area also contains existing social housing on Calton Road. Calton Road has, in more recent years, seen a degree of regeneration through a number of new mixed-use developments and residential conversions. Planning permission has now been granted (subject to legal agreements) for an affordable housing and mixed-use development on Calton Road.

The success of the First New Town (developed east to west and substantially complete by 1830) stimulated demand for further expansion of the city. To enable this expansion, new developments including the location of the felons’ prison, prompted the Council to improve access to Calton Hill by building a bridge over the valley. Work began in 1815 with Robert Stevenson appointed as engineer and Archibald Elliot as architect. The bridge officially opened in 1819 and created an important connection to the Calton Hill area of the city. The buildings along Waterloo Place were in turn built by a single developer and provided a grand entrance to the city.

The development of the bridge provided much improved access to Calton Hill with the Royal High School developing in the following years. The development of the railway in the early 1840’s within the Waverley Valley resulted in the area becoming further industrialised with gas works and brewery sites developing in 4 the surrounding area. The New Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal (2005) and Conservation Plan for the former Royal High School (LDN Architects, May 2004) explain in greater detail the historical development of the area.

The east of the city centre has seen significant investment in more recent years including the refurbishment of the former GPO building, the reuse of buildings on Waterloo Place as hotels and the existing leisure/office developments at Greenside Place. Environmental improvements proposed for the open space at Calton Hill, London Road and Hillside Crescent will include improved paths, lighting and planting. These will works will enhance access to Calton Hill and will encourage the use of this space. With the continued investment interest in the Caltongate and St James areas of the city, Block 10 represents a strategic site within this context and will encourage further investment within this area.

Planning Policy Context

The Council’s planning policies for the city centre are contained within the Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan (2015) (ELSP) and the Central Edinburgh Local Plan (1997) (CELP) which comprise the development plan for the area. In addition to the development plan there are a number of documents that will be material to the consideration of proposals that come forward for the area and the individual listed buildings. Principal among these is the finalised Edinburgh City Local Plan (March 2007) (ECLP) which, when adopted will replace the CELP. Other material considerations include: • Inspiring Action: The Edinburgh City Centre Action Plan 2005-2010; • Local Transport Strategy 2007-2012, including the Council’s Parking Strategy; • The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management Plan; • New Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal; • Old Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal; • The Inventory of Gardens and Design Landscapes; • Edinburgh Standards for Streets; • Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building; • Edinburgh Skyline Study (Colvin and Moggridge 2006); • Caltongate Masterplan 2006.

The Council’s planning policies aim to protect and promote the vital mix of government, cultural, business, retail and leisure uses within a diverse, thriving and welcoming city centre. To this end the Council seeks to maintain and strengthen the city centre as the principal focus of activities which are integral to Edinburgh’s role as a capital city, a regional service centre and a major tourist destination.

The overarching CCPSDF promotes a differentiation of character within the city centre by encouraging the identification of distinct quarters within the centre. There is an emphasis on mixed uses within individual sites and locations which will foster city centre vitality. Special attention will be paid to streets and public spaces and how these can be improved and made more pedestrian friendly. This will be coupled with a balanced approach to transport and parking that reduces unnecessary car use, congestion and pollution.

Block 10 contains a number of statutorily listed buildings. Listed building consent and/or planning permission will be required for works which affect the character of these listed buildings and/or development proposals. Historic Scotland will be consulted as required through this process.

Block 10 is largely within the New Town Conservation Area and extends south into the Old Town Conservation Area at Calton Road. It also lies entirely within the UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site. While the designation of the site does not carry any additional planning powers or controls, the impact of any proposed development on the site will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

Read more on : Development Brief Princes Street Block 10

Princes Street (Blocks 1-7a) Development Briefs

The Princes Street blocks are located in the city centre retail core, with
the study area extending from Hope Street in the west to West Register
Street in the east. The blocks are bound by Princes Street to the south
and include the streets which run north/south such as South Charlotte
Street, Castle Street, Frederick Street, Hanover Street, South St David
Street and South St Andrew Street. The scope of the briefs includes
Rose Street and Rose Street Lanes North and South. For the purposes
of this document each block will establish an overall objective and a series of development principles drawn from the CCPSDF.

The majority of the buildings within the study area are statutory listed
buildings with the entire site lying within the New Town Conservation
Area and World Heritage Site. An assessment of the cultural values of
the buildings within each block has been undertaken and has informed
the content of the briefs.

Historical and Urban Context

The historical development of the First New Town and specifically
Princes Street is described in detail in the Council’s 2008 Princes Street
Heritage Framework. In summary, the following outlines some key dates:
• 1759: The Nor’ Loch is drained to allow the city to expand to the north.
• 1772: After delays North Bridge is fully operational. The Council in turn
acquires the land across the valley.
• March 1766: A competition is held for Plans of a New Town. The
objective is to create an elite residential suburb, the only public buildings
being churches, based on ‘order and regularity’ with ‘streets of a proper
breadth’. Three months later James Craig’s plans win the competition.
• 1771: The first feus in Princes Street are taken up for three storey
houses. Although a good standard of housing was provided, they were
not comparable with those in Queen Street and Castle Street.
• 1776: The most easterly house is converted into a hotel and four years
later a book-shop had been opened nearby.

• 1805: The last of the Princes Street feus are developed with the buildings erected as private dwellings. However, Princes Street was the first street in the New Town to be affected by commercial pressures and by 1800 many of the buildings at the east end are non-residential, partly due to the proximity of industrial uses.
• 1821: The Nor’ Loch is fully drained, enclosed and planted with trees. As a result Princes Street suffers from being a narrow carriageway overlooking a rubbish dump. This may be why it was never as popular a residential street as George Street.
• By 1830 much of Princes Street has become commercial with domestic
buildings altered to accommodate commercial uses. Basement areas
are built over, windows enlarged and completely new shop fronts added
forward of the original front wall.
• Late 19th century: Complete replacement or radical adaptation of
original small scale Georgian domestic buildings commences. With
no overall controls, the replacements were individually designed and
tended to be larger and more ornate than their predecessors. Princes
Street ceases to have uniformity of design.
• 1949: The Abercrombie Plan criticises the laissez-faire development
of the Victorian and Edwardian periods for their lack of cohesion.
Abercrombie prescribed an overall framework for height and massing to
restore cohesion. Redevelopment was considered inevitable and only
three buildings were considered of sufficient quality to merit retention.
• 1967: The Princes Street Panel’s Report continues the theme of the
Abercrombie Plan of overcoming the lack of integration. The Report
recommends that Princes Street is comprehensively redeveloped within
a disciplined building envelope. A unified design is to be achieved by
controlling height, materials, floor levels, frontage widths, and modelling
of elevations. A standard section incorporating a continuous elevated
walkway with shop fronts at first floor level was devised.
• 1970s: The Panel’s formula is abandoned with only isolated sites
rebuilt with its recommendations rescinded in 1982. There was a
move away from an ethos of redevelopment to a more conservationbased
philosophy. The buildings that had resulted from the Panel’s
recommendations were also subject to critical comment and there was
growing concern over the indiscriminate loss of buildings of historic and
architectural interest.
• 1996: EDAW Study – ‘A Strategy for the First New Town’ – considers,
amongst other things, the issue of perceived conflict between the desire
to maintain commercial vitality and the need to protect historic and
architectural character.
• 2007: The Council approve the City Centre Princes Street Development
Framework to promote a collective approach to the regeneration of the
Princes Street blocks on the basis that ‘the sum of its parts is greater
than the whole’. The analogy of the ‘string of pearls’ is used to describe
the approach.

Planning Policy Context

The Council’s planning policies for the city centre are contained in the
Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan (2015) (ELSP) and the Central
Edinburgh Local Plan (1997) (CELP) which comprise the development
plan for the area. In addition to the development plan there are a number
of documents that will be material to the consideration of proposals
that come forward for this area. Principal among these is the finalised
Edinburgh City Local Plan (March 2007) (FECLP) which, when adopted
will replace the CELP. Other material considerations include:
• City Centre Princes Street Development Framework 2007;
• Princes Street Heritage Framework 2008;
• Local Transport Strategy 2007-2012, including the Council’s Parking
Strategy;
• The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management
Plans;
• New Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal;
• Guideline for the Protection of Key Views;
• Inspiring Action: The Edinburgh City Centre Action Plan 2005-2010;
• The Edinburgh Standards for Streets 2006

The Council’s planning policies aim to protect and promote the vital
mix of government, cultural, business, retail and leisure uses within
a diverse, thriving and welcoming city centre. To this end the Council
seeks to maintain and strengthen the city centre as the principal focus
of activities which are integral to Edinburgh’s role as a capital city, a
regional service centre and a major tourist destination.

The overarching CCPSDF, with its focus on the regeneration of Princes
Street, sets out a series of development principles to guide and coordinate
development and investment in the City Centre. The Framework
accords with the development plan and complements the City Centre
Action Plan 2005-2010. The innovation of the Framework is the ‘string
of pearls’ concept – whereby the potential for individual street blocks
to be developed along a particular theme, or set of uses, to create a
distinct character is explored.

The development briefs consider the opportunities for new development,
changes of use and refurbishment and enhancement of buildings and
demonstrate how buildings and spaces could be made to work better for
the benefit of the city centre as a whole. In all cases, the development
and refurbishment of buildings will be required to deliver appropriate and
sustainable uses which can contribute to the viability and vitality of the
city centre.

The study area i.e. Blocks 1-7a lies in its entirety within the New Town
Conservation Area and within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. While
the designation of the site does not carry any additional planning powers
or controls, the impact of any proposed development on the site will be
a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

Read more on : Princes_St_Dev_Briefs