Castle Terrace car park owners appeal 'controversial' Category B listed status

A CONTROVERSIAL decision to award Scotland’s first multi-storey car park listed building status has been appealed by its owners.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am

Edinburgh’s five-storey Castle Terrace car park was commended by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) for its ‘hugely innovative’ design and awarded category B listed status.

The 1960s building was also praised for fitting in with its ‘sensitive’ setting close to the western foot of Edinburgh Castle Rock.

The listing, which was announced in October, means the car park is now deemed as architecturally valuable to the city as the famous Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street and the Scots Baronial tenements of Cockburn Street.

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A letter sent on behalf of NCP to the government states: “The appellant contests and refutes HES’s decision to list the car park.

“It is the appellant’s submission that the car park fails to meet the listing criteria. The appellant therefore invites the Scottish Ministers to conclude the car park should be removed from the list and uphold the appeal.

“This appeal derives from the belief that the Category B listing imposed on the structure in October 2019 was based on an inadequate application of the relevant criteria, and an over-exaggeration of the structure’s claims to special interest.

“It is very challenging, in objective terms, to describe the completed car park as a ‘sensitive response to the historic setting’.

“The very decision to place a car park so close to Edinburgh Castle was a reflection of post-war urban planning concepts which privileged the car over other considerations such as visual amenity and the preservation of open spaces.

“Far from being a ‘sensitive response’ to the challenge of this prominent location, the eventual design of the car park was a pragmatic, cost-driven one which had few concessions to its site.”

Listed status means any plans to change a building have to be carefully considered by planning authorities.

Castle Terrace was opened in 1964 with room for 750 cars and was designed as a brutalist construction, characterised by a monolithic or ‘blocky’ appearance and the large-scale use of poured concrete.

The site featured in a chase sequence during 2017 film T2: Trainspotting involving characters Begbie and Renton after they emerge from a nightclub.

A spokesman for HES said: “We are aware that NCP has appealed the listing of the Castle Terrace Car Park. The appeal will be decided by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division of the Scottish Government.”

NCP declined to comment.