Planning application for Edinburgh's fire-hit Cowgate site unanimously praised
Plans to construct a mixed use redevelopment on the fire-ravaged Cowgate site in the heart of the Scottish capital have been approved by Edinburgh City Council with only minor items of reserve to be agreed. Edinburgh Developer Whiteburn Projects employed Allan Murray Architects to design the £40 million SoCo development which will revitalise the historic and once bustling area.
The South Bridge/Cowgate site was once home to a host of retail outlets, offices, pubs and venues, and University buildings but the buildings were destroyed by a major blaze in December 2002, which attracted worldwide attention.
John Shepherd, chief executive of Whiteburn, said: “Our vision is to regenerate this blighted area of our beautiful city which has lain derelict since the devastation of fire in 2002. This part of the Cowgate was once a vibrant part of the Old Town, catering for the needs of many, and we are delighted that we can soon begin work redeveloping the area, making it an integral part of Edinburgh’s urban offering once again."
Allan Murray, from Allan Murray Architects of Edinburgh said: “The design for this area of the Cowgate was complex and many factors had to be considered. We took on board findings from consultations and the extensive heritage report to produce a design which is a contemporary interpretation of the existing buildings on South Bridge and the Cowgate.
"SoCo will be a collection of buildings in sympathy with the contrasting urban grains of Chambers Street, South Bridge and the Cowgate, complemented by a network of closes and vennels. A series of courts, terraces and entrance spaces at different levels, with different uses, will bring vibrancy to the area. We are encouraged by the positive outcome from the planning committee and we look forward to seeing our proposals brought to life in the very near future."
Subject to the granting of the necessary liquor licences and building permits from the local authority, construction will commence later this year. Due to be completed in 2011, SoCo will provide over 200 construction jobs.