Elgin House – proposed demolition and redevelopment

Posted on: October 26, 2022

In our view, the proposed buildings are too tall and architecturally insipid adding nothing to one of the gateways to the city centre

Address: 20 Haymarket Yards Edinburgh EH12 5WU

Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings and erection of mixed-use development comprising hotel (class 7) with ancillary cafe, office (class 4), and associated public realm, active travel links, landscaping, EV charging infrastructure, cycle and car parking, servicing and access. | 

Ref No: 22/04595/FUL

Closing date for comments:   Wed 19 Oct 2022

Determination date: Fri Jan 2023

Result:  Pending


Cockburn Response

The Cockburn OBJECTS to this application.

In the context of the ‘climate emergency’ and Edinburgh’s zero carbon ambitions, the applicant simply has not made the case for the complete demolition of a relatively modern office building.  An outline carbon assessment is provided as part of this application. But this does not appear to fully and comprehensively explore the carbon-related impacts of the demolition process, and the construction and management of the proposed office and hotel buildings, with the performance of a suitably refurbished and repurposed Elgin House. Complete evidence should be provided that the existing office block cannot be reconfigured to meet modern office working requirements and cannot be brought up to an acceptable energy performance standard so avoiding the significant carbon implications of demolition and rebuild.

It is also our view, that the proposed buildings are too tall and architecturally insipid adding nothing to the urban feel of one of the gateways to the city centre.  The current proposals will negatively impact on views to and from adjacent conservation areas and the World Heritage Site.  The rooflines of the proposed office and hotel appear to have made no attempt to reflect the diverse rooflines which typify the Haymarket area.

Refurbishment must now be the starting point of any significant office redevelopment if Edinburgh’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 is to have any meaning. Successful refurbishment and reuse may have the potential to deliver some or all of the stimulus to the growth of the local, regional and national economy and opportunities for employment in Edinburgh.

If the principle if demolition is accepted (and we believe that there is insufficient evidence to support this) then redevelopment in this location should be limited to around four stories with a sympathetic roof structure in keeping with the surrounding cityscape, rooflines and residential character of much of this area.


Image: Planning Application