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18 September 2018

The Royal High School Public Inquiry

A Public Local Inquiry began on 18 September 2018 into the refusal of planning permission and listed building consent for two development schemes for the conversion of the Royal High School, Edinburgh, to a luxury hotel. Updated June 2020

Exterior of The Royal High School

Update: June 2020

The Inquiry Reporters have now completed their report for Scottish Ministers, who will now make their decision on whether to allow or dismiss the appeal.

A spokesperson for HES said:

“HES objected to the hotel proposals as we considered the potential impacts on the building and its setting would be significantly detrimental.

“It is our long-term hope that a positive and sustainable new use will be found for this important and impressive building”.

September 2018

A Public Local Inquiry began on 18 September 2018 into the refusal of planning permission and listed building consent for two development schemes for the conversion of the Royal High School, Edinburgh, to a luxury hotel.

The Royal High School Building was purpose-built in the 1820s to accommodate the relocation of the school from the Old Town. It was designed by Thomas Hamilton in the Greek style fashionable at that time. We believe that, if built, the development would diminish the building’s significance and have an adverse impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. We considered that alternatives for the building are likely to be possible. On that basis, we objected.

At the inquiry all parties will give evidence and be cross-examined. The Inquiry Reporters (independent government-appointed experts) will report to Scottish Ministers who will make the decision.

In the documents to support our case, we have set out in close detail what is significant about the Royal High School, its setting within the Designed Landscape around Calton Hill and its contribution to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. These documents are available to access at the links below. The Directorate of Planning and Environment Appeals website holds the material submitted by all parties.

A spokesperson for HES said

Our witnesses will present evidence about the importance of the Hamilton Building in its immediate and wider setting and the potential impacts of the proposed development.

"It is our long-term hope that a sustainable new use will be found for this important and impressive building”.

View inquiry sessions

Link to documentation on planning permission appeal (2015 application)

Link to documentation on listed building consent appeal (2015 application)

Link to documentation on planning permission appeal (2017 application)

Link to documentation on listed building consent appeal (2017 application)

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