Ambitious renovation plan sees Old Town given a modern twist

An artist's impression of the new consented regeneration scheme for Advocate's Close
An artist's impression of the new consented regeneration scheme for Advocate's Close
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Plans for a thriving new quarter that would breathe life into the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town have been unveiled today.

An ambitious scheme featuring restaurants, flats, shops and offices is proposed for a series of historic buildings within side streets that link the Royal Mile with Cockburn Street and Market Street.

Part of the plans will see Roxburgh Court become a courtyard, featuring outdoor dining for a cafe/restaurant.

Proposals were first lodged for the site in 2006 but have stalled following a series of complications. Now Beaghmor Property has lodged its own plans for the site which slightly vary the planning consent granted in 2007 and reduce the number of residential flats from around 80 to 11.

Its plans have been adapted to sit alongside a 200-bedroom hotel, to be run by German firm Motel One, upon which work has started.

Chris Stewart, chief executive of the Chris Stewart Group and a director at Beaghmor, said: “It is all about getting uses along the closes and the idea is that it will completely regenerate them and get them looking fantastic, with businesses and residences right the way up.”

The buildings to be redeveloped include the A-listed Cor House, built in 1588, and Edgar House, built in 1615. They also include the B-listed former Evening News print works, built in 1882, and the B-listed tower building, which was built in 1890 as the printing works’ boiler room, as well as Warriston’s Close, which dates back to 1820 but is not listed.

The proposals include the creation of 18 serviced apartments, 11 residential apartments, a restaurant and 585 square metres of office space.

The original plans were lodged by Edinburgh-based developer Station Properties, but it fell into administration and the work never started. Beaghmor bought the site from Station’s administrators in April.

City centre councillor Charles Dundas said: “The whole planning committee was excited about the prospect of mixed use in the original plan so it is good to hear that the new developer is keen to stick to these original plans as much as possible because it is that mixed use feel that characterises the city centre and makes it vibrant.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com