novelist Candia McWilliam has criticised plans to develop an historic part of Scotland's capital city.

The author said the £150 million development proposal for Edinburgh's Caltongate was "torpid, tactless" and would bring "shame and mortification" on those behind it.

Developer Artisan Real Estate Investors has insisted the plans, creating a civic square, hotels, retail units and affordable homes, will generate £43 million for the local economy a year and around 2500 jobs. Its proposals have been scaled back from those initially put forward by another firm.

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The plans are due to go in front of Edinburgh City Council today but McWilliam voiced her opposition, singling out in particular a glass-fronted building planned for the site. She said: "No clarity of thought unites this proposed edifice ... the fundamentals of architecture, strength, beauty and purpose, are betrayed and with them countless citizens as yet unborn."

A spokesman for Artisan Real Estate Investors said it had carried out an 18-month consultation on the plans and had listened to the responses.

He added: "We are now delivering on our promises made when we started this process 18 month ago, bringing capital investment of £150 million to the table with the vision and commitment needed to complete what has already been started."