Planners back Edinburgh concert hall

Proposals for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music venue in over a century have been recommended for approval.

Planned to be situated behind the Royal Bank of Scotland’s historic home on St Andrew Square, The IMPACT Centre was given the green light by planner officers ahead of the City of Edinburgh Council’s development management sub-committee’s final decision next week.

If approved, the 1000-seat auditorium will create a major new venue for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival.

David Chipperfield Architects’ plans will also include a 200-seat studio for performances, rehearsals and recordings as well as rooms for education and conferences, while an open foyer will host music performances and a cafe bar.

The committee will hear from a number of interested parties when it meets on April 24.

Richard Price from New Town and Broughton Community Council, Adam Wilkinson from Edinburgh World Heritage Trust and Terry Levinthal from heritage watchdog, the Cockburn Association will give presentations, while Impact Scotland will also have a chance to give its input.

Sir Ewan Brown, chairman of IMPACT Scotland, said: “We look forward to presenting the case for Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music venue in over 100 years to the committee.

“This is an opportunity for the city to raise its game in terms of cultural infrastructure and provide a world-class venue for the people of Edinburgh and its many visitors.”

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) lodged a formal objection to the plans and called for the proposed £45 million venue to be reduced in scale. It argued that the building would “tower above” its New Town neighbour and “detract from the historic building’s character, greatly diminishing its special interest and status as the focal point of the east end of Edinburgh’s New Town plan”.

The owners of the new St James Centre, which is currently under construction, have also raised fears over traffic and deliveries.

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