Edinburgh’s built heritage benefits from decade of development

Exterior render of the old India Buildings (image: Virgin Hotels)

JUST two of Edinburgh’s A-listed buildings will remain ‘at risk’ once current or planned restoration work is complete, the capital’s council has revealed.

In 2012, there were 16 A-listed Edinburgh buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register (BARR). These included Riddle’s Court, Acheson House and the former Donaldson’s School for the deaf – all of which have been repaired, refurbished and brought back to public use.

The Virgin Hotels development in the Old Town, which is 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, while the Old Royal High School on Regent Terrace has planning permission in place to bring it back into use as a music school – which the council said will save five buildings in the process.

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. Over the last ten years, we’ve helped developers make the best and most sympathetic use of many of our globally significant and architecturally stunning buildings so they can be enjoyed now and for future generations to come.

“You only have to walk around the centre of our beautiful capital city to see the progress being made and restoration works completed on the ground to breathe new life into these historic and iconic buildings. The plan for the Old Royal High School is a fantastic example of this, restoring it to its original glory as a place of learning for our young people. And, I’ve been very impressed by work on the upper floors of 30 Princes Street as a hotel with restoration of the gilded globe roof sculpture on the corner of the former Forsyth’s department store.

“It’s also good to see several properties in central Edinburgh restored to residential use and that Scottish Historic Buildings Trust is using the picturesque category A-listed merchant’s tenement, Riddle’s Court, in the Lawnmarket as their headquarters.”