The Future

Waverley Valley


Former Eastern Scottish Bus Depot

Planning permission has been sought to demolish the former East of Scotland bus depot in New Street, to the east of Waverley Station.  If granted, the building could be during summer 2005.

  The exterior of Eastern Scottish Bus Depot in New Street, Edinburgh ©

The owners of the site, Mountgrange Capital intend to apply in October 2005 for permission to develop the site to provide  offices, shops, restaurants and 200 new apartments.


The site is beside the new Headquarters being built for Edinburgh City Council in the former Waverley Station car park beside Market Street.

It was a built a a garage to house 300 buses on two floors for Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) in the 1930s and became their main depot after their depot at Fountainbridge closed.  The photograph below shows the building in use as an Eastern Scottish bus depot in the 1990s.

 Eastern Scottish Buses in Edinburgh New Street Depot ©

Since the buses left the depot, the  building has seen use in recent years as a car park and indoor market.

There was also a campaign recently to convert the depot into a transport museum for Edinburgh.

The demolition and development proposals above were reported
 in the Edinburgh Evening News,  June 10, 2005,  p.19.


'Arts Quarter'

The London property developers, Mountgrange, now own the site of the former bus depot in New Street and garages and land in East Market Street, immediately to the east of the new Edinburgh Council Headquarters now (in 2005) under construction and due to open in 2006.

 Waverley Valley

   Looking down on the Waverley Valley from Calton Hill ©

    Looking down on the Waverley Valley from Calton Hill  -  Photo and key ©

The developers propose a £150m development for the area, described as Waverley Valley.  The valley lies between the Royal Mile (High Street and Canongate) to the south  and Calton Hill to the north.

Please click on the photo above to enlarge it and see a key to the photo.

The area also appears in the upper-right quarter of the map below.  Please click this map to enlarge it and to see a more recent map and aerial photograph of the area.

1844 Map

 Edinburgh  -  1844  -  Map produced for the Society for the Dissemination of Useful Knowledge  -  Section K ©

The developers propose propose the following, all of which have still to be submitted to the Council's Planning Committee:

- An avenue of craft shops and artists studios behind Waverley Station.  The Fruitmarket Gallery and City Art Center are already located in this area, in Market Street.

- A square with seven-storey 200-bed hotel on the site of the former New Street bus station, immediately to the east of the site where Edinburgh Council's new Headquarters are now being built.

-  200 new flats and 120,00 sq ft of offices, also on the site of the former bus depot.

There will be an exhibition of the proposals at St James Centre on 30 September and 1 October 2005 at the St James Center, Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Evening News, September 8,  2005,  p.9.




A £180m Masterplan for the proposed developments at Waverley Valley has been drawn up by architect, Allan Murray for the developers, Mountgrange.  The name Caltongate has been chosen.  [I have seen this name written sometimes as one word; sometimes as two.]

Details of the proposals were announced in the Edinburgh Evening News on 3 October 2005.  The announcement included artists' sketches of the proposed development.  The Masterplan includes:

- a new road linking Waverley Station and the Scottish Parliament, to be named Parliament Way.

-  a new 'five star' glass-fronted hotel in the Royal Mile.  This will require the removal of some of the flats in the Royal Mile, currently occupied.

-  the arches in Jeffrey Street to be developed as artists' studios and workshops.



The developers intend to seek Outline Planning Permission 'before Christmas 2005'.  Before doing so they plan consultation with interested parties.

Edinburgh Evening News:  October 3, 2005,  pp. 1,10, 11.




A newly formed body, the Canongate Community Forum, has expressed opposition to the Caltongate master plan.

They have expressed concern over the proposals to demolish:

-   the former Maddock's Tie building, a Listed Building on the corner of the Royal Mile and New Street

-   Canongate Venture, also a Listed Building, a former Victorian school

-  18 tenement flats facing onto the Royal Mile, to allow for the building of a new road linking East Market Street with Canongate.

They are also concerned about the loss of the view to Calton Hill from the Canongate (though it is proposed that new views of Calton Hill will be created from a new public square on the site.

Edinburgh Evening News, November 29, 2005,  p. 12.

Also a Southside Newsletter (name?) seen November 2005.



November 2005

Demolition of the New Street Bus Depot

  The exterior of Eastern Scottish Bus Depot in New Street, Edinburgh ©

The developers, Mountgrange, were granted planning permission to demolish the former New Street  bus depot on 22 December 2005, despite having no intention to submit their master plan to the planning committee until March 2006.

They claimed that a full structural assessment of the site could not be carried out until the building had been demolished and that they wanted the building to be demolished to allow them to press ahead with "time-consuming archaeological work".

Local residents, Councillor Guest, the Cockburn Association and the World Heritage Trust have expressed concern that demolition at this stage could result in a 'gap site', or the council's approving a poor scheme in order to avoid a 'gap site'.

Julie Logan of Canongate Community Forum said: "It's just like St James Square on Boxing Day all over again."   [It was on 26 December 1967 that the planning committee gave permission to build St James shopping centre - a decision that few have defended in recent years.]

Edinburgh Evening News, November 29, 2005,  p. 12.

Also a Southside Newsletter (name?) seen November 2005.



January 2006

Stairway from the Old Town to Calton Hill?

 Not yet!

The developers, Mountgrange, announced in January 2005 that they had shelved plans to build a large flight of steps linking their development in Waverley Valley to Regent Road at the foot of Calton Hill. 

This flight of steps would have replaced Jacob's Ladder, a  narrow stair leading from the foot of New Street to Regent Road, opposite the former Royal High School.   In explaining their reason for shelving this part of their development, the developers mentioned:

-    their discovery that the cost might be about £5m

-   the delay in proposed plans to convert the former Royal High School in Regent Road, at the top of the steps, into a Scottish National Photography Centre

It is also believed that heritage bodies might have objected to proposals to build these steps because of their visual impact on views to Regent Road and Calton Hill.

Edinburgh Evening News, January 24, 2006:  p.24



February 2006

'Save Our Old Town'


   Bible Land, 183-187 Canongate, Edinurgh - zoom-in to window ©

Campaigners against the proposals for Waverley Valley have been holding a series of meetings.  At a meeting of the Canongate Community Forum held on February 20, 2006:

-  Peter Wilson, of the Canongate, (Architect and Director of Business Development for the School of Built Environment, Napier University) was reported to have given a very thought provoking talk on Modern Architecture and its role and impact in Edinburgh today, and why this very important site in The Old Town deserves better than what is being proposed.

-  Andy Wightman gave an update on the Common Good issue. More to come on this in the next week or so. (The campaigners have argued that the land on which the proposed development is to be built is in fact land held for the common good.)

Those attending the meeting were reminded that the plan for Waverley Valley is due to be released to the public on March 6, 2006.

They were encouraged to display posters in support of the 'Save Our Old Town campaign'

 Here are the posters.   Please click on them to enlarge them.

Save Our Old Town  -  Poster No 1  -  produced for the Canongate Community Forum in their opposition to the proposed Caltongate developments, February 2006 ©          Save Our Old Town  -  Poster No 2  -  produced for the Canongate Community Forum in their opposition to the proposed Caltongate developments, February 2006 ©          Save Our Old Town  -  Poster No 3  -  produced for the Canongate Community Forum in their opposition to the proposed Caltongate developments, February 2006 ©

Sally Richardson, 'Save Our Old Town' campaign.



March 2006


On March 4, 2006, developer Mountgrange released a £180m masterplan for Caltongate. The masterplan has been  designed by Edinburgh architect, Allan Murray.

The Masterplan includes:

 - Demolition of approx 18 Local Authority developed flats from the 1930s, in Canongate, opposite St John's Street.  this is to create space to build a new road, Parliament Way, that would extend  East Market Street further east, then swing round and join the Canongate.

-  A  hotel and conference centre at the south end of New Street, including a tunnel through which traffic would pass as it approached the Canongate from New Street.  The hotel would open onto a new public square.

-  Offices on the east side of New Street, opposite Edinburgh City Council's new headquarters.

-  Up to 300 new homes, some close to the existing flats off Old Tollbooth Wynd, and a community centre.

-   Shops,  workshops and artists' studios in Jeffrey Street


The developers hope that planning permission will be granted to enable building to start in spring 2007.

Edinburgh Evening News:  March 4, 2006:  p.9



March 2006

Web Sites

For further details of Mountgrange's proposed Caltongate development see the Caltongate web site.

For further details of the campaign  against the development, see the Caltongate Community Forum web site.  This web site includes:

-  contact details for the SOOT  (Save our Old Town) campaign.

-  comments on articles that have appeared in the press.

-  dates of future meetings.



Canongate Community Forum' attempts to persuade Edinburgh Council to extend the consultation period for the Caltongate development from 8 to 16 weeks were thwarted at a meeting of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee Meeting on March 9, 2006.

There will be a SOOT meeting on Monday, March 20, at 7.30pm (doors open at 7) in Old Saint Paul's Church Hall, on Jeffrey Street, between Jury's Inn and the Carlton Hotel.  This meeting will discuss and plan, for the next 8 weeks.



May 2006

Press Coverage

Following a period of campaigning, including a street party in East Market Street on 6 May 2006

Street Party in East Market Street  -  6 May 2006 ©

campaigns, both for and against the proposed Caltongate development have featured prominently in the Press.


Cockburn Association's Objections

The proposed Caltongate development may become the subject of a Public Inquiry, following objections from Edinburgh's two leading heritage organisations:

-  The Cockburn Association and

-  Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

Reservations have also been expressed by

-  Historic Scotland

-  The Architectural Heritage Society and

-  Architecture and Design, Scotland

In particular, concern has been expressed over:

-  the proposed public square, not thought to be in keeping with the architecture of the Royal Mile,

- proposals to demolish two blocks of 1930s tenements on the Canongate to make way for a  new hotel and conference centre.

Edinburgh Evening News,  May 8, 2006;  p.23

Edinburgh Evening News,  May 10, 2006;  p.21

Edinburgh Evening News,  May 17, 2006;  p.10

The first of the articles above includes a plan of the proposed developments.

Arguments for and against the  Caltongate development proposals have appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News on most days in early-May, 2006.



June 2006

Planning Committee Approval

Edinburgh Council's Planning Committee, at a three-and-a-half-hour meeting on June 15, approved Mountgrange's Masterplan for their £180m Caltongate Development, despite objections from local residents and heritage bodies.

Objectors from 8 groups spoke at the meeting.  These included:

-  Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

-  The Cockburn Association

-  'Save Our Old Town'.

Mountgrange have been asked to submit a revised version of their plan, to the Planning Committee to seek final approval.

The Council will require the revised plan to:

-  take account of the historic character of the Old Town, including narrow winding streets and an emphasis on pedestrianisation.

- retain the social mix of the Old Town, providing 25% of the housing in the 'affordable' range.

-   provide a new stepped route to Regent Road.

-  ensure that the 'breakthrough' into Canongate at the site of the current 1930s tenement is narrower than vehicle width.


Edinburgh Evening News,  June 16, 2006;  p.11



September 2006

Revised Master Plan

A revised Master Plan has been submitted by Mountgrange and approved by Edinburgh City Council.  The first planning applications are expected to be submitted before the end of 2006.  If approved, work is expected to commence in 2007.




October 2006

Indoor Market?

Canongate Community Forum (campaigners fighting Mountgrange's proposals for the Caltongate development) have submitted a planning application to convert an old garage in East Market Street into an indoor market  -  even though they don't own the garage or land that it stands on.

The garage stands opposite Edinburgh City Council's new offices in East Market Street, a short distance to the west of the former bus garage in New Street

They see this as a way of demonstrating their opposition to Mountgrange's proposals to build a five-star hotel on the site.

They claim that the land concerned is part of the City's 'Common Good' assets.  i.e. owned by the people of Edinburgh but stewarded by the City Council.


Edinburgh Evening News,  October 17, 2006  p21




Old Gas Works

Excavations under the former bus depot in New Street have unearthed the remains of old gas works.  I believe that these old gas works closed when the new gas works beside the Firth of Forth at Granton were built around 1900.

I have some photos of the remains of the gas works  -  still to be added to the web site.






The 'SOOT' (Save Our Old Town) campaign against the Mountgrange proposals is continuing.  I'll add more details to the EdinPhoto web site at some stage.  Meanwhile, up to date information can be found on the 'SOOT' web  site.





LD Grant

Penicuik, Midlothian

March 2007

Donald Grant, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland wrote:

New Street

Bathgate Park

"It seems there is a piece of little known history about the former New Street bus depot site.

It appears that after the old gas works closed (around 1900) and before the bus depot was built  (1926/27) there was a football park known as Bathgate Park on the site.

It is known that it was a  cinder pitch but nothing else is known about the site other than the fact that it was the home of Edinburgh Emmet, a Junior professional football club and that on at least one occasion there was a crowd of 7000 spectators at a game.

I would be very obliged if you could appeal for further information on Bathgate Park and Edinburgh Emmet F.C. through your site."

L D Grant:  Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  March 28, 2007

If you have any information about Edinburgh Emmet Football Club or Bathgate Park, can you please e-mail me, then I'll pass the information on to Donald.

Thank you .    - Peter Stubbs.







Jim Bull

Old Town, Edinburgh

Thank you to Jim Bull for sending his memories of Bathgate Park.

Jim wrote:

New Street

Bathgate Park

"Being brought up in the Canongate, just behind where Bathgate Park was situated, I remember my Dad telling me that rather than pay to watch a match the men used to stand on the track leading up from the Calton Road to Regent Road. This led to it gaining the rather "non PC" nickname of the Jew's' Gallery."

Jim Bull, Old Town, Edinburgh:  May 18, 2007






Fraser Parkinson

Pilrig, Edinburgh

Thank you to Fraser Parkerson who wrote:

New Street

Bathgate Park

"Here is a photograph that appears on a Facebook page

I believe it to be of Bathgate Park, which sat on the old gas works site at New Street prior to the bus depot being built there.

It is an astounding photo. I've tried to contact the owner but havenít heard back.  I've added a few comments to the Facebook page which will hopefully indicate the location."

Fraser Parkerson, Pilrig, Edinburgh:  June 15, 2015



April 2007

Request for Fast Track Approval

Mountgrange have already been given outline planning permission for their masterplan.  They have also requested and been given permission to demolish the old bus garage in New Street before being granted planning permission for the buildings to be constructed on this site.

Now, the old bus garage site has been almost cleared and Mountgrange are seeking 'Fast Track Approval' to start construction work on the new buildings.  i.e. to start work on these before being given detailed planning permission for them.

Mountgrange would like to start the construction work within the next six weeks, but the Cockburn Association and others are concerned that giving such approval now might tie the hands of the council later, when detailed planning permission is sought.

Edinburgh Evening News,  January 31, 2007



April 2007

Detailed Plans Submitted

Developers, Mountgrange, submitted detailed plans to the City of Edinburgh Council today,.  These now include proposals for a live music venue on Market Street with capacity of 1500 and more affordable housing.

The plans still include the proposed demolition of 18 homes in the Canongate to make way for part of a five-star hotel and conference centre.

However, the plans are expected to meet with continued opposition from the heritage bodies:

-  Historic Scotland

-  Cockburn Association

-  Edinburgh Old Town Association

-  Edinburgh World Heritage Trust

and from the campaigners:

-  SOOT (Save Our Old Town).

Edinburgh Evening News,  April 3, 2007:  pp.10-11

Fast Track Approval

Edinburgh council officials have recommended that 'fast track special approval' be given by the Planning Committee next week to the proposed £300m Caltongate mixed development

Developers, Mountgrange, have announced that they have agreed a deal with French chain Acor to  build a 205-bed hotel.  They also propose to include a 1500-seat concert venue and a supermarket in the development.

However, former city planning leader, Bob Cairns has said that he was

 "extremely disappointed by [the developer's] piecemeal approach".

He warned:

"Edinburgh could be landed with the 21st century equivalent of the eyesore St James' Centre unless it takes tighter control of the £300m development."


Edinburgh Evening News,  mid-April 2007


Edinburgh City Council Elections

The number of councillors in Edinburgh City Council, following the elections held on May 3, 2007 is now:




Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party



Scottish Green Party



Scottish Labour



Scottish Liberal Democrats



Scottish National Party







Difficulty now in gaining Planning Approval?

Twenty three years of Labour power in Edinburgh has ended today when it was announced that:

- the SNP and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition to run Edinburgh City Council.  (Together they hold 29 of Edinburgh's 58 seats.)

-  the Tories have pledged not to oppose the election of a Lib Dem Lord Provost next week.  (The Lord Provost holds the casting vote.)

With several of the strong supporters of the Caltongate project no longer actively involved, it is expected that the Caltongate project may now face a struggle to gain planning approval

Edinburgh Evening News  May 11, 2007:  pp.1,8,9.




May 2007

Criticism of the Design

The changes resulting from the elections on May 3 do not seem to be good news for developers, Mountgrange.

The new City of Edinburgh council leader, SNP, Jenny Dawe, commenting on Mountgrange's proposals for modern-looking buildings in East Market Street to house shops, offices, restaurants and a night club, described them as "hideous and grotesque" and "completely out of keeping with the area".

She added:

"I don't like the way that the developers of the Caltongate scheme have decided to chop it up into small bits rather that take  forward one big masterplan."

Edinburgh Evening News,  May 24, 2007: p.9



Aug 2007

Building Work to Begin?

The first stage of building work could begin within the next few months if councillors give approval at their planning committee meeting on Aug 29.  The proposals already have the approval of the council's planning officials.

This stage is one of the less controversial parts of the overall proposals.  It includes 36 affordable homes on Calton Road, a new hostel for the homeless and possibly a new community centre, shops and offices.

However, campaigners objecting to the Caltongate development have called for the planning committee's decision to be deferred until they consider the make a decision on the £300m Caltongate scheme as a whole.

Historic Scotland has not objected to the proposals for the first stage, but has expressed concern that that it will have a considerable impact on the views of Canongate Kirk and its graveyard and has urged the council to ensure that "everything possible is done to help the new buildings to blend into the historic backdrop".

Edinburgh Evening News,  Aug 25, 2007: p.7

Not yet!

A decision on the first stage of the Caltongate development, a five-storey development at 20 Calton Road,  has been delayed. 

This is  to allow councillors to visit Canongate Churchyard and consider what impact the development would have on the views from the churchyard

Edinburgh Evening News,  Aug 30, 2007: p15



Sep 2007

Building Work to Begin

Edinburgh Council has now given the go-ahead to the first stage of the Caltongate development, 36 homes, offices and a day centre for the homeless, on two sits on either side of Calton Road.

Edinburgh Evening News,  Sep 27, 2007:  p.11

New Task Force

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, the only high-profile backer of Mountgrange's Caltongate Development, has invited Manish Chande, chief executive of Mountgrange Capital to head a new taskforce.

The purpose of the taskforce will be to:

 "improve relationships between builders and heritage watchdogs ... and lobby politicians to speed up the city's planning system."

The Chamber of Commerce says that the aim is to:

 "attract  investment and new jobs to Edinburgh, rather than see them go to Glasgow and Newcastle."

Edinburgh Evening News,  Sep 27, 2007:  p.11


Heritage bodies, including Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association and the Architectural Heritage Society continue to be critical of the proposed Caltongate development. 

The Save Our Old Town (SOOT) campaign is also continuing to hold a series of public meetings against the proposed development



Oct 2007


A survey has been conducted by Mori on behalf of  developers Mountgrange.  Questionnaires have been sent to 30,000 homes within a square mile (whatever that means) of the Caltongate site, asking if people believe that the Mountgrange development will improve the city.

Mountgrange say they were very pleased with the result:

-  53% in favour.

-  27% against.

In fact, only 700 of the 30,000 questionnaires were returned.  Some have criticised the survey for not asking any specific questions about the most controversial aspects of the development,  Mountgrange's plans to demolition the former Canongate Venture, the Sailor's Ark hostel of the Royal Mile tenements.

Edinburgh Evening News,  Sep 27, 2007:  p.11



Jan 2008

Affordable Homes

Work has begun on stage 1 of the Caltongate development, one of the least contentious parts of the scheme, 36 affordable homes to be built on the northern edge of the site at Calton Road.

A planning committee on major aspects of the Caltongate development is expected within the next few days.

Edinburgh Evening News,  January 29, 2008, p.21



Feb + Mar 2008

Tenements to stay

Most of the £300m Caltongate scheme was approved earlier this month.

The council is now expected to approve the balance of the scheme following Mountgrange's proposal to retain the Royal Mile tenements for affordable housing use.

Edinburgh Evening News,  February 28, 2008, p 6

 UPDATE:  Mountgrange's plans were approved  March 5, 2008.



Jun 2008

Public Inquiry ruled out

Objectors to the Caltongate proposals have now admitted defeat, following a decision by Scottish ministers to rule out a public inquiry.

The Evening News reported:

"Yesterday's decision ended months of uncertainty over the plans, which involve the biggest development of the Old town since the 12th century."

Edinburgh Evening News,  June 19, 2008, p 6



Jul 2008

World Heritage Status

Following the Scottish Government's approval of the Caltongate proposals last month, inspectors from the United Nations heritage watchdog, UNESCO are to visit Edinburgh later in the year to consider the possible impact of this development and re-evaluate the World Heritage status granted to Edinburgh Old and New Towns in 1995.

The Evening News reported:

Edinburgh Evening News,  July 7, 2008, p 2



Feb + Mar 2009

Mountgrange lose £24m

Mountgrange, the company behind the Caltongate development posted a loss of £24.3m in the year to March 2008.  Their auditors have have admitted that there are doubts about the company's ability to continue.

Edinburgh Evening News,  February 10, 2009:  pp.1, 6, 7

 UPDATE:  Mountgrange was put into liquidation on  March 21, 2009.



Apr 2009

Caltongate to lie Empty

The Caltongate site is likely to remain empty for a year or more because the administrators, Deloitte,  have been told by bankers, HBOS, not to sell the site 'on the cheap' to other developers.

Edinburgh Evening News,  April 29, 2009:  p.5

 UPDATE:  Mountgrange was put into liquidation on  March 21, 2009.



May 2009

Development to go ahead again?

Two former Mountgrange directors have secured funds of £300m from a range of investors, and are keen to secure some of the former Mountgrange sites from Deloitte, Mountgrange's liquidators, to enable development to go ahead again.

Edinburgh Evening News,  May 25 2009,  pp1,7



August 2009

Development to go ahead again?

Five months after the site's owner, Mountgrange, went into administration, six developers have announced that they would like to take control of the site.  A deal is expected within the next few weeks.

The site already has planning permission for a five star hotel, conference centre, offices, shops and homes, and a French hotel operator, Accor, waiting to occupy the hotel.

Edinburgh Evening News,  Aug 13, 2009:  p.11


March 2010

Development Firm about to be Chosen

Edinburgh Council say that they are expecting to hear imminently, from the receivers which firm has been chosen to take forward the development of the Caltongate site.

It is thought that Bank of Scotland will be in control of the next move.  Bank of Scotland are owed £74m by the previous developer,  Mountgrange, who went into liquidation a year ago.

It is not yet known to what extent any new developer is likely to follow the plans submitted by Mountgrange and already approved by the council.

Edinburgh Evening News,  March 1, 2010, p.10

Anta Architects Vision

Scottish Architects, Anta Architecture say that the Mountgrange plans for the Caltongate were similar to many other modern schemes and were too monolithic, so they have prepared designs with a stronger 'Scottish identity'.

A vision of how the Caltongate site could be developed - from Anta Architects, Ferrn, Tain, Ross, Scotland - February 2010 ©

NOTE:  No formal proposal is being made for this design.  It is just a vision put forward by Anta, architects of Fear, Tain, Ross, showing future developers (whoever they might be) how the development could, perhaps, proceed following a more traditionally Scottish theme.

Anta propose a colourful scheme using simple materials, featuring arched arcades similar to those in the Cowgate.  Their design provides for the same uses as were proposed in Mountgrange's plan -  business space, offices, hotel and residential.

Anta have sent their designs to the firms thought to be competing to take forward the Caltongate development.  These include British Land, Allied London and Grosvenor.

Edinburgh Evening News,  March 22, 2010



Photos:  Caltongate

More photos:  Around Edinburgh