Edinburgh's Old Royal High School building finally gets a purpose but who will tell the world about all the city's improvements? – John McLellan
For such a prominent Edinburgh building, there will no housing more affordable than the old Royal High School if, as expected, the council’s finance committee agrees to allow the Calton Hill landmark to become the new home of the St Mary’s Music School.
OK, so the Royal High School Preservation Trust which is behind the scheme will pay a £1.5m fee to the council to secure the lease, but after that the bill will be £1 for 125 years. In simple terms, it’s an annual cost of around £12,000.
The building work will be extensive, but with a £55m budget a saga which has run on and off for 50 years is set to enter its final chapter and a fitting use found for the building as both the school and a National Music Centre.
It has been a long and difficult road, much more difficult than it needed to be, but in the next ten years the east city centre will have been transformed.
We have had Multrees Walk, St Andrew Square, the St James Quarter and to come there is the new Waverley Market, the Music Centre, the Dunard Concert Hall ─ even though it’s to be made of concrete ─ and the George Street improvements. And, yes, it has a tram to the airport.
As the world recovers and cities compete for business, all it needs is the means to tell the world what’s happening. Maybe an internationally focused agency something called, say, Marketing Edinburgh? Now there’s an idea.
John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston