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10th August 2020
The Waverley Valley forms a distinctive division between Edinburgh’s two exceptional urban phenomena – the organic medieval Old Town and the planned Georgian New Town. The valley, which consists of Waverley Station, as well as Princes St. Gardens East and West, is an integral element of our World Heritage Site inscription, and central to our city’s identity. It is essential that any intervention within the valley respects its integrity and preserves its role as what Scott called the ‘great arena’ between the Old and New Towns.
In addition to forming a crucial element in the valley, Edinburgh Waverley is also a ‘Category A’ listed structure, and is without doubt one of UK’s greatest surviving city centre stations. Following the publication of the ‘Concept Masterplan’ for the station, published by Network Rail and partners, we feel the following points must be considered by decision makers and the general public:
The visuals which have been published together with the Concept Masterplan are misleading because they assume that large sections of Category ‘A’ listed building could be demolished. Needless to say, this principle has not been agreed.
The proposal does not take into account the impact on the surrounding environment of the Waverley Valley. This will be significant, not least the impact on key views, for example to the Firth of Forth, due to the raising of the roof by 2 metres.
Our aim is to ensure that the integrity and authenticity of the structure is maintained, while allowing for appropriate growth of rail traffic and passengers which we appreciate may be impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure we learn from other developments in the World Heritage site, such as the old Royal High School, it is essential that a measured approach is taken to ensure that decisions are made with appropriate consultation on planning issues, and with heritage being fully integrated within the decision making process from the beginning. We would be pleased to participate in any such consultation to ensure that the special value of this unique building, and surrounding landscape, is maintained and enhanced.
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