Owners claim Edinburgh landmark building needs glass roof to protect customers from rain

The owners of The Dome have warned that the capital’s ‘unpredictable weather’ is ‘putting a great strain’ on its outdoor café business – as council planners look set to reject proposals for a glass canopy on Rose Street.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:16 pm

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In October, Capital-based property management company Caledonian Heritable unveiled ambitious plans to give the Edinburgh landmark a facelift by installing a glass roof at the back of the category A-listed Dome at 14 George Street.

However, the proposals are set to be thrown out by council planners – after deciding the development would be ‘harmful to the character’ of the New Town and receiving formal objections from Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

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Customers getting wet: The Dome

Now, the owners of the building have appealed for councillors to go against their officials and grant the application, saying it would ‘allow The Dome to continue’.

They have argue that having the Rose Street Garden unable to trade due to do unpredictable weather conditions is ‘putting a great strain on the business’, and said a roof would allow the Garden to be used in all weathers, maximising customers space following the Covid-19 pandemic and helping The Dome meet upkeep and maintenance costs that are increasing on an annual basis.

A spokesperson for Caledonian Heritable said: “The Dome is an iconic Edinburgh building and an attraction in its own right.

“Our application for a retractable glass roof to the rear of the property is similar to one approved in 1999.

“It means we can make better use of the space on Rose Street and adapt to the changing demands of our customers who more and more want safe outdoor space.”

“Approving this roof will allow The Dome to continue as one of Edinburgh’s premier venues and tourist attractions.

“We hope the planning committee will give consideration to the points we have made above.”

The plans are set to be debated at a meeting of Edinburgh City Council’s development management committee meeting on Wednesday September 2, where officers are recommending the planning application be refused.

A report, sent to councillors ahead of the meeting, says ‘the proposal would be harmful to the character and setting of the listed building and would be harmful to the character and appearance of the conservation area’.

A formal objection has also been lodged by HES, which reads: “We object to the application because the proposals would result in the loss of the carefully designed relationship between the building’s prominent apsidal end, its sunken courtyard with flanking pavilions and the Rose Street railings and gatepiers.

“This loss would have a significant, detrimental impact on the special interest, character and appearance of the category A listed building, specifically designed to address Rose Street.”

The building currently hosts Why Not Nightclub, The Dome Bar and Restaurant, and Rose Street Garden, a bar with a limited food menu.

The glass canopy, which would be retractable for the capital’s rare days of sunshine, would cover the rear of the building on Rose Street, currently occupied by the Rose Street Garden, with the developers aiming to create ‘a unique dining experience’.

The Dome stands on the site of the old Physicians’ Hall which was eventually acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland, which sold the building to Caledonian Heritable in 1993, which opened The Dome Bar and Restaurant in 1996.

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