Letters: Virgin hotel plan needs an EU impact assessment

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One reader thinks more needs to be done before Virgin can make their hotel in Edinburgh. Do you agree?

It’s cheering that Brian ­Donaldson is excited about the Virgin hotel proposed for ­Edinburgh, and will be earning a decent fee, and it’s good of him to let us know that he will be meeting UNESCO’s impositions ‘which exist to protect listed buildings and preserve the area’s heritage,’ (‘We’re building the city’s global tourism offering’, News, March 12).

The India Buildings is set to become a Virgin Hotel

The India Buildings is set to become a Virgin Hotel

Mr Donaldson is the partner in charge of Scotland at Thomas & Adamson, the construction and property consultancy. Unfortunately he seems to have overlooked the bit about non-compliance with EU regulations.

The council seems to believe that it didn’t have to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ­because the site was marginally below the area which triggers an EIA. It was wrong.

In reality, any proposal in a ‘sensitive area’ such as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is subject to an EIA. The regulations are perfectly clear on this point.

On the other hand, we’re dealing with a council which binned the ­recommendation of its environmental health officers that the application should be refused because the air quality in the Cowgate, which already breaches maximum CO2 levels, would be exacerbated, posing a risk to ­human health, so maybe we shouldn’t expect too much.

I wouldn’t wish to rain on Mr ­Donaldson’s parade, but quite frankly this consent should be held in ­abeyance until these matters have been properly investigated.

David J Black, St Giles Street,

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