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Doubts raised over Odeon verdict

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May 24 2010

Doubts raised over Odeon verdict
Following on from the Scottish Governments refusal to permit part demolition of the B listed Odeon cinema on Clerk Street doubts have been raised by a source close to proceedings as to the reporter’s conclusions.

This stated that: “It remains possible that the current proposals represent the best opportunity for the Odeon cinema to be brought back into use. However I have concluded that not all alternatives to demolition have been fully explored.”

“On the balance of probabilities the point has not yet been reached when all the requirements of Ministers’ policy have been met.”

However Urban Realm was advised that the criteria for establishing when these requirements has been reached is not clear and without resolution there is no clear indication of how any scheme for the site can move forward.


 Love the Odeon
#1 Posted by Love the Odeon on 24 May 2010 at 17:55 PM
Yes it is clear, permission refused, sell to someone who will look after the building and re-use it.
More here including the Report
New Victoria
#2 Posted by New Victoria on 24 May 2010 at 18:00 PM
"there is no clear indication of how any scheme for the site can move forward."

"Any scheme" ??
Not true - there is no indication of how this particular scheme can move forward, because it shouldn't. It was refused for the reasons quite clearly set out in the report, which is public and available to read in full. No need to rely on 'sources' to speculate on the conclusions!

There are plenty of other potential schemes that would clearly meet the Minister's policy of not allowing historic listing buildings to be gutted unnecessarily; nothing in the report or decision prevents that from happening.

All that does prevent a better scheme from happening is the owners fixation on this Boutique Hotel approach...
Love the Odeon
#3 Posted by Love the Odeon on 24 May 2010 at 18:08 PM

Read it.

The hotel is the one scheme which will make the most profit for Duddingstone House Properties? Look at all those in that report who wrote in and supported the demolition, hopefully without knowing all the facts, including the Chamber of Commerce, whose letter (if quoted correctly) is factually incorrect. Did they write just out of personal interest, or were they persuaded to do so? If so by whom?
The report is very clear regarding the tests which should apply before demolition is granted. Of course the council is, as usual, left looking inept.
Oscar Deutsch
#4 Posted by Oscar Deutsch on 25 May 2010 at 05:18 AM
It wasn't really the remit of this report to state what is acceptable and how it can be achieved - that's a question for smart, genuinely innovative developers and architects who respect the built heritage of their predecessors and have a passion about working with it within all the restraints that a long pre-existing listing present. What this report did set out to do was judge this particular scheme against the various guidelines surrounding demolition of historic listed fabric, and that is what it did - in a more thorough, rigorous manner than is usually the case with these rubber-stamp efforts. I hope that this heralds a period of much more careful scrutiny of the glossy reports and claims that now get submitted with these kind of applications, giving the SHEP and individual local authority guidelines the full weight which they were intended to carry.
Clerk Street
#5 Posted by Clerk Street on 25 May 2010 at 10:33 AM
Shame it's too late for too many other buildings which should also have been given this type of scrutiny, but were not. Possibly the government needs to consider that many councils do not have the expertise (or such expertise as exists is overridden at higher level, for whatever reasons) to be able to determine applications to partially or wholly demolish listed buildings, or alter them so much that all character and interest is lost, and when external bodies which do have the expertise seek an inquiry, then, unless confidence in planning and historic environment decisions is to reach an even lower level than it is now, that should happen. Of course inquiries are expensive to mount, and dauntingly so for voluntary organisations, but unless there is the sense by local authorities that bad decisions will not be tolerated, then they will continue as before. Of course there's a nice little industry in expensive reports by external consultants, paid to do a hatchet job, but many of those should be taken with large pinch of salt.
There is also no guarantee that any expensive external consultancy has the required expertise either.
Edinburgh Council might like to ask for its (our) money back from the external consultants it commissioned to write a very one sided report? Or should there be an inquiry into the workings of the council?
Perhaps heritage bodies should now compile a list of recent decisions which they believe would not have withstood this type of expert, forensic scrutiny against national policy and raise those with the Minister.
In the meanwhile, possibly Duddingston House Properties could consider what it can do to ensure the building is secured, not allowed to deteriorate, and presents an attractive frontage onto the street. No doubt it is busily engaged with its plans, in association with Edinburgh Council, for another 'boutique arts hotel' (architect Gareth Hoskins I believe, who is also the chosen architect of Donald Trump at Menie?) at the Royal High, but if it is to have the confidence of the public behind it for that venture (and so far it has proved extremely controversial) then it has a great deal of PR work to carry out in order that we can believe it will put the welfare of the A listed building before its own profits.
Glasgow Odeon
#6 Posted by Glasgow Odeon on 26 May 2010 at 14:05 PM
Is this abomination not also by the same developers? How did they get this past the council?

"A Touch of Glass?
The former Odeon cinema in Glasgow's Renfield Street has been lying empty for the last two years while developers formulated various plans to capitalise on the building with its distinctive Art Deco frontage. Now the city planners have agreed that all but that facade, which wraps round the corner of the building, will be demolished. In its place will be a huge 11-storey-high glass office block which will dwarf the original frontage.* The £100 million building is to be known as "Paramount" after the original name for the cinema on the site. There will be 150,000sq ft of office space, 20,000sq ft of restaurants and 20,000sq ft of leisure area."

That's from a past report on the Rampant Scotland website.

It does not bode well for the future of the Royal High in Edinburgh, does it?

*Architects the now parted AD+GM?
#7 Posted by coajesemionna on 3 Mar 2011 at 20:12 PM
Hi friends, I am Rick, from UK. I thought i should really say hi to everybody so that can further move with all your warm wishes...

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