Plans for a whole new floor to be built on top of a city- centre hotel have been branded “a bit of a joke” by heritage campaigners over fears it will damage the Capital skyline.
Owners of the Carlton Hotel on North Bridge say they want to build 25 rooms on the roof of the existing building, but residents have expressed concern over the impact on views at one of the most photographed parts of the Old Town.
The extension would be hidden from view at the front of the building by a mansard-style roof, but campaigners worry that mock-ups produced by developers suggest the development will use modern building materials that jar with the existing masonry.
The Cockburn Association called the plans a “hash” and said they would ruin one of Edinburgh’s picture-postcard views from Regent Road. The Old Town Community Council said its members would “probably” vote to lodge an objection to the proposals. Owner The Hotel Collection have revived plans previously lodged in 2010 by ex-proprietors Barcelo. The plans were approved but work never started because of the recession and the hotel changing hands.
Cockburn Association director Marion Williams said the group would oppose the plans.
She said: “It’s a bit of a joke. While it is a bit of a mess there, everything they do should be below the line of the building, not growing taller.
“When you look across from Regent Road, you see that awful Jury’s Inn, so I can see why they might think they could get away with it, but it just doesn’t look good.
“The plans don’t look that different from the previous attempt, and we certainly objected to that.”
Bill Cowan, chairman of the Old Town Community Council, said: “As far as I can tell, it won’t be visible from the street. If you want to start talking about views, let’s look at whether we should have great big Ferris wheels.
“But we probably won’t approve of it.”
The building housing the Carlton Hotel dates back to the turn of the 20th century when it was built following the widening of North Bridge.
Built at the same time as the new headquarters of the Scotsman newspaper opposite, the building housed the Patrick Thomson’s department store for 70 years.
Like the Scotsman building, the department store was converted into a hotel, and has changed hands several times since then. The Hotel Collection and its representatives were contacted but did not provide a comment by the time of going to press.