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Developers fight to make Edinburgh building into luxury hotel

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Developers fight to make Edinburgh building into luxury hotel

Urbanist Hotels’ latest appeal against its rejected plans for Old Royal High School reopens battle with group wanting site for St Mary’s Music School.

A battle over one of Edinburgh’s most famous neoclassical buildings, the Old Royal High School, has intensified after a hotel consortium stepped up its bid to build a luxury hotel on the site.

The consortium has filed an appeal after councillors unanimously rejected its revised plans to build a smaller “six star” hotel around the A-listed neoclassical building for about £75m.

Urbanist Hotels, and Duddingston House Properties, had previously sought permission to build a larger hotel based on two multi-storey wings with stepped facades, but that too had been rejected, in 2015.In a fresh twist to the long-running saga, the Scottish government confirmed on Wednesday that its planning officials could take the unusual step of agreeing to study both projects in tandem in a public planning inquiry.

A spokeswoman said all four appeals by the developers, which included two appeals over the council’s refusal to give listed buildings consent, would be “conjoined”. She added: “Each of the four appeals will be decided on their own merits.”

The appeal over the site of the hotel, which opened in 1829, has reopened a simmering feud between the consortium and the backers of a rival £35m proposal for the site – supported by influential conservation campaigners – which aims to create a new home for one of Scotland’s best known music schools, St Mary’s.

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