Edinburgh 'monstrosity' hotel set for extension with flats and boutique hotel to be built in Old Town

The Jury's Inn Hotel will undergo an extension - while a new boutique hotel and 31 flats will be built at a gap site in the Old Town

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 7:45 am
Proposals to build flats, a hotel extension and a new boutique hotel at a gap site in Edinburgh's Old Town

Proposals to extend a “brutalist monstrosity” of a hotel in the Old Town have been approved by councillors – along with plans for a new boutique hotel and two blocks of flats to be built.

Jurys Hotel Management UK Ltd have been granted planning permission and listed building consent to transform a vacant site behind the company’s prominent hotel on Jeffrey Street into a 125-bedroom boutique NYX Hotel and 31 flats built in two blocks. The development will also include a 100-bedroom extension to the Jury’s Inn hotel, to the rear of the building.

Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee gave the proposals, which had been recommended for approval by planning officials, the thumbs up – despite some councillors calling for clarity that money provided for affordable housing will be spent on projects in the Old Town.

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The Jury's Inn Hotel on Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh

The site has been left vacant for more than 30 years – with the original hotel building labelled a “brutalist monstrosity” by Cllr Cameron Rose.

Planning officers told councillors that retail space planned for the ground floor of the development will “not cause any significant disruption for residents”.

They added: “There is a need for additional hotel rooms in Edinburgh.

“The development will contribute to maintaining a balance between the permanent and transient populations of the Old Town.”

No affordable housing will be provided as it “cannot be viably delivered on site” – but the developers will contribute funding for the council to provide accommodation elsewhere in the Capital.

Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, called for the scheme to be put on hold in order for councillors to be given more details on whether funding the developers will hand over to provide affordable housing can be used in the Old Town or the city centre council ward.

He said: “”I think there is good things about this scheme – re-using this site that has been derelict for so many years and it’s quite an intense development in the spirit of the Old Town. There’s a lot of thought that has gone into this scheme and there’s a real mix of uses including housing and hotel rooms, which will take pressure off, hopefully, other housing in the city centre.

“I think there’s a broad agreement amongst committee members that we would like to see affordable housing, not just in the city centre ward, but ideally in the Old Town. Any opportunity to bring that about would be appropriate – we do want to see a living community remain in the city centre.

“Accepting that perhaps there can’t be any on this site, we need a bit more comfort that there can be some in the city centre.”

But Cllr Joanna Mowat warned that the authority’s affordable housing policies were not clear, rather than the specific Jury’s Inn proposals.

She said: “We should be quite careful about not muddling up our policy issues with specific applications. Whilst I appreciate there’s a bit of concern, those are actually policy concerns about how we do our reporting.

“I don’t want to delay an application for something that we can deal with at a later date.”

Councillors voted in favour of approving the proposals.

Cllr Hal Osler added: “We can’t afford to have wasted sites within the city centre. This will bring forward a really good usage – but the most important thing it brings forward is public access linkage. That is absolutely vital to making sure that we can get people to access parts of the town that so far have not been accessible.”

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