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Edinburgh World Heritage/News/Yehudi Menuhin School joins effort to oppose Old Royal High School hotel plan

Yehudi Menuhin School joins effort to oppose Old Royal High School hotel plan

4th May 2018

Edinburgh World Heritage

The Yehudi Menuhin School today lent its support to efforts to prevent Edinburgh’s Old Royal High School being turned into a luxury hotel. Pupils from the renowned school were performing at a concert at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk to raise money to cover the significant costs of the coalition of civic groups involved in fighting the hotel plan.

Developers behind the scheme have appealed against the decision of City of Edinburgh Council to reject the hotel plan, and the case will now be heard by Scottish government-appointed reporters later this year. An alternative plan to use the building as a new base for St. Mary’s Music School has already received planning permission.

A number of Edinburgh-based organisations are opposing the hotel plan including Edinburgh World Heritage, the charity responsible for the conservation and promotion of the city’s World Heritage Site as well as the Cockburn Association and local community associations.

Thomas Hamilton’s Royal High School, built between 1825-9, is one of the most important Greek Revival buildings in Europe and was one of the buildings to inspire Edinburgh’s moniker ‘Athens of the North’. The plans for a new hotel on the site have been widely opposed in the city and by national institutions including Historic Environment Scotland.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage commented: ‘The battle to save Edinburgh’s iconic Old Royal High School has not yet been won. The developer behind the hotel plan has refused to accept the decision of the democratically-elected members of the Council, with the result that we are forced to engage in a lengthy and expensive process as we go through the appeal.

For those unable to attend the concert we have set up a crowdfunding appeal for people who may wish to contribute towards our costs’.

Kate Clanchy, Headteacher of the Yehudi Menuhin School added: ‘We strongly support the plans to create a new home for St. Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. High quality musical education for children from all backgrounds is one of the markers of a civilised society, and the Old Royal High School is a particularly apt and inspirational new location. We look forward to a successful outcome to the appeal process’.

Kenneth Taylor, Headteacher of St Mary’s Music School commented: ‘The plan to expand our school from the current premises and create a world-class musical teaching establishment for Scotland’s children is a unique opportunity which must not be missed. While funding for the school is secure, we are delighted that the children and staff from the Yehudi Menuhin school are helping with covering the costs of the civic groups involved in the appeal process.’

Contributions to the costs involved in the appeal process may be made via the CrowdJustice website by searching ‘Old Royal High School Appeal’ or by clicking this link.