Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Odeon plan refused by 8-4

Proposals by Duddingston House Property for the Odeon in Clerk Street were refused this morning by the council planning committee.  The proposals, a resubmission of those approved by the committee in 2008, were for partial demolition and the provision of artist studio space, restaurant, gallery space, internal courtyard and hotel.

The proposals foundered because the building is B listed and the applicants failed to persuade the committee the statutory requirements for part demolishing a listed building existed.

Over 8 years have now passed since the premises were used as a cinema.  Now, who will get this building back into use? And how soon?

For the record I voted for the plans, which would have retained the section providing the Clerk Street frontage, to be approved.  The biggest disappointment is that the there is still no clarity in when we will get this vital part of the Southside back into use.


billybob thorntons said...

mr rose, when so many (thousands) of people objected to these plans - most of whom were resident in the southside and newington area - did you not feel more compelled to vote in a manner which represented these people?

the game is up with DHP et al - despite their NIMBYism claims and impassioned cries that this development is what "edinburgh needs" and is "progressive" and "for the future of the city" common sense won out.

Very easy to blame people against development as impractical, not understanding, outdated etc etc as bruce hair took to the press to do. fact of the matter is dhp did not abide by the rules, played dirty, purchased a building they assumed they could do whatever they pleased, publically denounced any bidder with interest and have claimed protectionism and traditionalism of the "locals" when it didnt go there way.

for the record, mr rose, economically DHPs plans were very much out of date. there are four (possibly five) large hotel developments currently active in central edinburgh (more central than the Odeon). perhaps in 2008 it would have satisfied a need, but not now and not in 2015ish. look at london, leeds and manchester, where many mid-range hotels (such as the dhp development was being pitched) have been forced to close their doors and be sold for office space, as the trend is now for Easyhotel, capsule rooms and serviced apartments.

how sad it would have been to lose this building only for dhp to have realised "worng product, wrong location, too many better located compeitiors, market changed" and shut the hotel like so many before it

billybob said...

....and I think the "biggest" disappointment has to be the conduct of bruce hair and dhp with regards the bidders, the press and his economical use of facts (like the central hall is smaller and its price refelect odeon's value). mr hare should be throroughly ashamed, unprofessional in the extrene

Cameron Rose said...


Thanks for your views and for engaging.

My brief is for the people of the Southside and it may surprise you to know that there are many people in the area whose priority, as mine, is to move on from this stalemate which has blighted the Southside for too long.
Many people I speak to about the issues do not see the priority issues as you do.

I think we can both agree on the desirability and priority of getting a viable scheme moving fast. I hope this decision will enable that.

Best wishes.

PS Always interested to know what is the basis for your comments on hotels.

billybob said...

That is very well, if that is the case. But 4500 people in the area did NOT come out in support of these plans, but against them. a vox pop and a few canvassed opinions are not the same as an overwhelming united voice.

we all want an end to this saga, but unlike some, i (and pretty much everyone i suspect who has followed this with interest) want to see the RIGHT outcome. if this takes time then it takes time. the longevity of the proposals and the future of our city spaces is more important than getting it open in whatever guise as soon as possible...

this gives you an idea why the hotel market in edinburgh is becoming oversaturated. 5 new travelodges since 2009

- the new Apex (waterloo place)
- holiday inn (cowgate)
- arcadia group hotel (above - topshop, princes street)
- easy hotel (princes st)
- missoni (george V bridge)
- 2 new hotels in Haymarket (1 approved)
- 1 hotel and 1 apart-hotel at st james quater

all opened since 2008 or in planning/progress now

Cameron Rose said...

Yup. Like you I want an end to this saga. We'll have to disagree as to what is the 'right' solution. I think it involves a prompt solution.

Have a look again at the second last para of the link you gave. The indications are that demand is buoyant. And why the down on Travel Lodges? You seem to assume that more hotels are a bad thing. I suggest investors in hotels may be better positioned than you or me to make a judgement on whether their investment is viable.


Tom Pate said...


You say: "I want an end to this saga. I think it involves a prompt solution".

Yet you voted for DHP's destructive proposals for the Odeon which, had enough of your fellow Councillors agreed, would have resulted in an automatic referral back to Historic Scotland, and for the whole dreary business to begin all over again. What would have been 'prompt' about that?

Your thinking on the Odeon mystifies me, even more now than two years ago when we last exchanged views, because so much has happened since to undermine the position you have consistently held. Both the Drivers Jonas report for Historic Scotland and Michael Culshaw's for Scottish Ministers (both independent of any vested interest), came to the same unambiguous conclusion that DHP had failed to do everything possible to secure the Odeon's future without demolition. And, apart from DHP, no-one can reasonably deny that there were credible bids for the Odeon in January this year. One of the bidders, Elim Trust, has the strongest of financial credentials. That it doesn't own the Odeon today is not because of any credibilty issue, but because of DHP's stubborn seven year refusal to sell.

DHP has resorted to some shameful tactics, including a few very public fibs. It announced on 10 February that the Odeon had failed to find a buyer. This was untrue; finding a seller was the problem. It also announced that the "limited interest" shown in the building had fallen "well short of the requirements set by the Reporter" (Michael Culshaw). This was also untrue (he set no such requirements). And it claimed that all three offers for the building had been for less than half the (DHP commissioned) valuations. Sheer fiction.

Out of interest Cameron, do you feel any unease about lending your support to people who spin such tales?

Perhaps even more shameful was DHP's attack on Council officers (your officers) for alleged bias and unprofessionalism. This was investigated by the Council's compliance officer and found to be without foundation. But again I am curious; does DHP's
unwarranted attack on the integrity of your officials trouble you?

You say that your "brief is for the people of Southside". Well, that would have been nice. Your community overwhelming rejected DHP's plans for the Odeon; in all the submissions to the Council during the consultation period, not one person tabled their support.

You had a choice Cameron. To support your community, or DHP. You made it, and I am sure Bruce Hare is deeply grateful.



Anonymous said...

Well said, Mr. Pate

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