Hotel and restaurant conversion for Edinburgh New Look store approved

The store, on Princes Street, will be refurbished as an extension to a hotel and the creation of a new restaurant.
New Look on Princes Street will be close their doors and move to the new St James CentreNew Look on Princes Street will be close their doors and move to the new St James Centre
New Look on Princes Street will be close their doors and move to the new St James Centre

Princes Street’s New Look store will become a hotel and restaurant after plans were approved by Edinburgh City Council.

The proposals, submitted by LaSalle Investment Management in response to the formal revision of planning guidance on Princes Street, will see 59 rooms added to the existing Premier Inn hotel.

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Alongside the expansion of the Whitbread-owned hotel, the site at 121 Princes Street will see a new restaurant constructed on the ground floor.

The plans were described as being “clearly a desirable project” for Edinburgh and its most famous shopping street.

The new ‘Bar and Block’ steak dining experience was the first planning application for a new restaurant on Princes Street following the changes to council planning guidance announced in February.

In the planning statement, property consultants Montagu Evans say the plans would help keep footfall high on Princes Street.

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The consultants write: “The occupation of the unit by an existing tenant, Premier Inn, and a new high quality restaurant operator, the Bar + Block, is clearly a desirable prospect, given the property’s position on the key frontage and the need to ensure the future of the west end of Princes Street.

“There continues to be a natural gravitation of retailers towards the east end of the City. The introduction of alternative and complementary uses within Princes Street to the western end, will ensure that this area remains both vibrant and successful.

“As well as satisfying the retail frontage calculations, the proposals would contribute directly to improving the vitality and viability of this section of Princes Street, bringing a unit due to be vacated back into active use, and supporting a diversity of uses contributing to footfall.”

Approving the decision while adding some minor conditions including the provision of six cycle parking spaces, planning officers said the application “preserves the character of the listed building” and “enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area”.

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They added: “The development will have no adverse effect on the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Site and will have no detrimental impact on residential amenity, road safety, or infrastructure.”

In their site report, planners added: “In this busy, commercial city centre location where there are many existing restaurants, cafes and bars, the restaurant use will not cause any significant disruption for nearby residents.”