Heritage sweep puts city’s iconic sites ‘at risk’

Donaldson's School for the Deaf

Donaldson's School for the Deaf

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A HOST of Capital landmarks have been placed on the “at risk” register, including the iconic former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf.

Forty-six properties in total have been included on the Buildings At Risk Register by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in the last month.

Seven A-listed, 14 B-listed and five C-listed properties have found their way on to the list of 93 properties compiled on behalf of Historic Scotland.

This is the first RCAHMS review of Capital properties since 2006, and they have highlighted a host of listed buildings which they feel require attention.

Alex Adamson of the Royal Commission said: “This survey was carried out so as to bring the register up to date, as the last complete report we compiled was back in 2006.

“The register is compiled so as to raise awareness of a property so that sound decisions can be made based on detailed evidence.

“Many of these buildings may be perfectly fine structurally but have lain empty for years, such as the former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf. There may not a high level of risk but we wish to raise the profile of the building so that it doesn’t fall into disrepair.

“Edinburgh, in fact, has quite a low number of buildings at risk compared to the number of historic properties in the city.”

Developer Cala Homes bought the A-listed Donaldson’s building eight years ago but work has since stalled and the Playfair-designed school now lies empty while a new buyer is sought.

Speaking of its inclusion on the list, a spokesperson for Cala said: “Donaldson’s College is an iconic building and, as such, we invest a great deal of time and resources in ensuring it remains in a good state of repair. To this end, we employ 24-hour security as well as carrying our regular surveys on the state of the building.”

As to whether a buyer had emerged for the property, the spokesman added: “We have had a lot of global interest in the building but no deal has been agreed as yet.” A copy of the RCAHMS report has now been made available to both the city council and Edinburgh World Heritage.

A council spokesperson said: “Progress is already being made to improve many of these buildings and, where no action is being taken, we will prioritise the rest based on the resources we have available to us.

“Council officers make contact with owners and, in most cases, an amicable conclusion is reached to improve the buildings. If not, the council will use its legislative powers to ensure owners make their buildings wind and water tight.”

Registering concerns over safety

A register of buildings at risk in Scotland is maintained by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland on behalf of Historic Scotland.

A “building at risk” is usually a listed building, or an unlisted building in a conservation area, that is vacant with no identified new use, suffering from neglect and/or poor maintenance, has structural issues, is fire-damaged, unsecured, or open to the elements or is threatened with demolition.

The buildings at risk in Edinburgh are:

• India Buildings in Victoria Street, above.

• 50 Rose Street North Lane

• Wilson’s Pies (Former), 7, 11 - 13 Eyre Terrace

• 51 Abbeyhill

• Panmure House, 4 Lochend Close

• 22 John’s Lane Leith

• St Bernard’s Primary School (Former), 21 Dean Park Street

• Scottish Provident (Former), 6 & 7 St Andrew Square

• Edinburgh and Leith Gas Works: Processing Plant (Former), 1 to 5 Baltic Street Leith

• 11, 13, 15 Victoria Street

• Scottish Life Assurance Company (Former), 19 St Andrew Square

• 9 Rutland Square

• 9 & 10 West Scotland Street Lane

• Donaldson’s School for the Deaf (Former): East Lodge, 1B West Coates

• Donaldson’s School for the Deaf (Former), West Lodge, 1B West Coates

• Donaldson’s School for the Deaf (Former) 1B West Coates

• 28 to 48 West Register Street

n Gateway Theatre, 40 to 44 Elm Row Leith

• 7 Jamaica Street South Lane

• 4 Windsor Street Lane

• Shrubhill Tramworks Workshop to NW, Shrub Place, Leith

• Shrubhill Tramworks Workshop to NE, Shrub Place, Leith

• 9 Brunswick Street

• New Carlton Burial Ground Watch Tower Regent Road

• Police Call Box (by spiral staircase to High School Yards), Cowgate

• 29 & 31 Melville Street

• Community Centre (Former), 165 Leith Walk Leith

• Police Call Box Market Street

• Council Yard (Former), King’s Stables Lane

• 8 Blenheim Place

• Police Station (Former), 55 Abbeyhill

• St Bernard’s Primary School Janitor’s House (Former), 23 Dean Park Street

• Theatre Workshop (Former), 34 Hamilton Place

• External spiral staircase from High School Yards to Cowgate, High School Yards

• 27 Melville Street

• London And Lancashire Insurance Company (Former), 8 St Andrew Square

• Woolworths (Former), 10 to 14 Princes Street

• 34 Dewar Place Lane n 16 Cumberland Street South East Lane

• St Paul’s Church (Former), 9 Lorne Street Leith

• Generating Station, 95 McDonald Road

• Bonded Store (Former), 15 Duke Street, Leith

• Canongate Venture, 5 New Street

• Sailors Ark, 231 Canongate

• 26 Heriot Row

• Raeburn House Hotel, 112 Raeburn Street

• John Adair and Co (Former), 74 & 76 South Bridge

• Mecca State Social Club, 204 to 208 Great Junction Street, Leith