Plans for a 17-storey InterContinental hotel in the centre of Edinburgh have been thrown out by the Scottish Government after a public inquiry concluded it would have a detrimental effect on the Haymarket area.
Property developer Tiger Developments had signed up IHG for a four-star hotel at the heart of a £200m re-development of the Morrison Street Goods Yard site and it was expected that the plans would be approved.
But while local councillors backed the project, which also included a Travelodge hotel, new office blocks and shops, the Scottish Government had to be asked to approve it because the council previously owned the site.
Ministers ruled that the benefits of the scheme were not enough to justify the impact on the city's skyline and potential damage to its tourism industry.
The inquiry report stated: "In urban design terms, the hotel building would dominate the townscape of Haymarket and nearby streets. The hotel would rise above the height of the surrounding buildings and impact on key views of St Mary's Cathedral spires and Edinburgh Castle rock."
Jim Lowrie, the council's planning convener, criticised the decision: "It's very disappointing the democratic decision of the council has been overturned," he told the Scotsman. "It was a bold decision to go for something of this height, but I still feel it was the right decision. We felt a landmark was needed for this site."
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By Daniel Thomas
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