This is the  new name for the site in Lauriston Place, formerly occupied by Edinburgh Royal Infirmary,  The site was given this name because the site is 1/4 mile from Edinburgh Castle.


Quartermile  -  400m Development

Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary recently moved:

-  FROM its site in Lauriston Place, across the road from Heriot's School in the centre of Edinburgh

Royal Infirmary
at Lauriston Place

   Engraving from 'Old & New Edinburgh'  -  Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

-  TO a new purpose-built hospital at Little France in the southern suburbs of Edinburgh.

Plans have been announced by a partnership of developers, Southside Capital, for a 400m redevelopment of the 19 acre site at Lauriston Place.  The site has been named 'Quartermile' because it it a quarter of a mile from Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile.

It is proposed to retain some of the existing buildings, and to create 650 homes, office space, a five-star hotel and  restaurants with an open-air piazza.

Earlier plans for the site failed to gain approval in October 02.  The latest plans will be considered by the Council in late March 03.

[Edinburgh Evening News  28 Feb 03, p.19  AND  Edinburgh Evening News 6 Mar 03, p.4]


Redevelopment of the site  -  Further details

Further details of the proposed development appeared in the press in April 2003.  It would take until 2010 to complete the project.

The proposal includes:

-  Refurbishment of the Surgical Hospital as a Hotel with 220 rooms and shops on the ground floor.

- Offices and Restaurants in two central buildings with a piazza between them;  the historic Red Home to be turned into restaurants and a bar.

-   7,000 sq m. of floorspace for shops.

-   60,000 sq m. of floorspace for offices.

-  Almost 700 homes for private, shared, and rented ownership; seven infill blocks of flats, 12 stories high, to be built on the south side of the site facing the Meadows.

[The Scotsman: 10 April 2003:  Property Supplement, p 14  + Edinburgh Evening News 24 July 03, pp.8- 9.]


Planning Permission  -  2nd Attempt

Plans produced by Southside Capital for the redevelopment of this site have been cut back, to some extent, from those which failed to obtain planning permission in 2002.

The revised plans, which still include buildings up to ten storeys high, have also been criticised by heritage bodies who are unhappy with the mass and height of some of he buildings.

[Edinburgh Evening News:  4 April 03, p 9]

The Planning Committee of Edinburgh City Council considered and rejected the Planning Application on 10 April 03.  Southside Capital are reviewing the comments made at the Planning Committee hearing.

 [Edinburgh Evening News 10 April 03, p 9]


Planning Permission  -  3rd Attempt

A new plan was announced on 18 July, including more affordable housing.  However, the plans still propose buildings up to 12 stories high on the south side of the site facing the Meadows, despite protests from conservation bodies.

 [Edinburgh Evening News 18 July 03, p 9]

The plans were approved by Edinburgh's City Councillors on 24 July.  It now only needs approval of the Scottish Executive before going ahead with a completion date of 2010.

 [Edinburgh Evening News 24 July 03, pp.8- 9.  This article includes a useful map of the site with proposed developments.]


Ongoing Concerns

Despite the approval having been given by Edinburgh City Council in July, heritage groups still have concerns over the height of some of the buildings and would like to see more of the existing buildings retained.  The Cockburn Association, World Heritage Trust and Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland are campaigning for a Public Inquiry to be held.

[Edinburgh Evening News 19 August 03, p6.]

Historic Scotland has now lodged a formal objection to the planning application, expressing concerns over the impact of 12-storey high buildings on the Edinburgh skyline,  and the scale of the proposed developments on the setting of  the surviving A-listed buildings in the old Surgeon's Hall block.

The Scottish Executive are currently considering the planning application and the objections that have been raised.  It is not yet clear when they will announce any decision, or whether or not there is likely to be pubic inquiry.

[Edinburgh Evening News 12 September  03, p9.]



Decision   -  Approval Given

It was announced on 26 December that Scottish Ministers had approved the 400m development for this 19 acre site, despite the concern expressed by heritage bodies.

It is expected that building work will begin within the next few months and is likely to take seven years to complete.

[Edinburgh Evening News 26 December  03, pp.1,3.]



George Watson Hospital Wing

It had been feared that the George Watson Hospital Wing of the Royal Infirmary in Lauriston Place would be demolished as part of the Quartermile development scheme, despite protests by heritage watchdog organisations and individuals.

The George Watson Hospital Wing was designed by William Adam in 1738.  In 1857, the building was modified and extended.  In 1869, George Watsons became a 'day school', and moved into the neighbouring Merchant Maiden Hospital, then later moved to Colinton.

However, it was announced on 2 July 2004 that architect James Simpson has been in discussion with the developers, Southside Capital, and with George Watson's school. 

He suggests that the  building to be dismantled brick by brick and re-erecting  either at George Watson's school, four miles away in Colinton Road, or at an undisclosed site in the city centre.

[Edinburgh Evening News 2 July 20043, p.3.]



Progress - April 2005

The whole site, including 650 homes is expected to take seven years to complete at a cost of 135m. 


Some of the old hospital buildings on the site are to be restored.

- Medical buildings are to be fully restored, including the 'Red House' (built 1895) which will be converted into three restaurants and a bar. 

- The former surgical building will be converted into a five-star hotel with shops on the ground floor. The hotel will incorporate features from the hospital chapel.


Buildings  to vanish from the site include:

-  Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion.

-  Queen Mary Nursing Home.

-  George Watson wing of the Surgical Hospital.

-  Florence Nightingale Nurses' Home.

About three-quarters these buildings have already been demolished.


New Buildings

In September 2005, work is expected to start on building the first of the tall steel and glass residential buildings.  This should be available for occupation in 2007


Edinburgh Evening News:  21 April 2005,  pp.20-21


Revised Plans - November 2005

Work on the Quartermile site is expected to be completed in 2011.

However, revised plans for the site, now described as a 350m development, were announced in November 2005.  These new plans have been lodged with the Planning Committee and a decision is awaited.

- It is now planned to have a 4-star 70-room hotel, but the former Surgical Hospital, originally scheduled to become a  5-star, 250-bed hotel has now been earmarked for housing. 

- Instead of converting the Red Home (designed 1895) into bars and restaurants, it is now planned to demolish it and replace it by an office-block and public square.

This removes the need for an office block near Middle Meadow Walk.  It is now proposed to build luxury flats there, so reducing the office proposed office space from 400,000 to 350,000 sq. ft.

- The revised plans now include about 1,000 houses (previously 650) on this 19-acre site.  The first of the houses are expected to be sold in 2006.

Edinburgh Evening News:  25 November 2005,  pp.10, 14-15


Possible Demolition of 'Red Home' Building

Quartermile Developers are seeking permission to demolish 'The Red Home' and create a new 11-storey tower block and a public square on the site.  'The Red Home', a former nurses' home, is a 'B Listed' red brick building.  It was designed by Scottish architect, Sidney Mitchell, in 1895.

Other changes proposed by Quartermile Developers include locating flats and leisure facilities in the former surgical hospital building fronting on to Lauriston Place, and creating a small 'boutique hotel' elsewhere on the site.  The original plans were to convert the surgical hospital into a '5 star' hotel.

Community leaders and heritage watchdogs have objected to  proposals to demolish 'The Red Home'.   However, Edinburgh Council planning officials are now supporting the demolition proposals.

If the Edinburgh councillors at their Planning Meeting next week (week beginning Jan 15, 2007), follow the planning officials' recommendations in supporting the demolition, then the proposals will be submitted to the Scottish Executive at the Scottish Parliament for a final decision.

Edinburgh Evening News:  January 7, 2007:  p.7

Possible Demolition of 'Red Home' Building

The council has approved the demolition of the former nurses home, 'The Red Home', to make way for a restaurant and civic square.  Only a small tower and a commemorative plaque from the original building is to be retained.

Historic Scotland, the Old Town Association and Tollcross Community Council have expressed their concern about this decision.  Because of the building's B-listed status, the proposals to demolish it must be passed to the Scottish Executive for their approval.

Edinburgh Evening News:  January 18, 2007:  p.9



Possible Demolition of 'Red Home' Building

The first of the new buildings in the 450m development on this 20-acre site have now been completed.

175 homes have been put on the market and to date over 100 have been sold.  The first residents are expected to move in to their homes and the first office workers are due to move into the new offices during November 2007.  The first shops are expected to open near the entrance from Middle Meadow Walk in December 2007.

The site has been closed to public access for five years and building work is expected to continue for a further five years.  However, access is now to  be allowed to parts of the site.  Two new roads have been built -  Simpson Loan and Nightingale Way. 

Edinburgh Evening News:  November 1, 2007



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