HELLO and welcome to the PM Business Briefing, as it is revealed plans have been lodged to change two office and radio station buildings on the edge of the New Town in Edinburgh into an aparthotel.

ISA Architects said it had been instructed by Bothwall with Supercity Aparthotels Ltd to prepare supporting information for submission to the City of Edinburgh Council as part of the planning application for Playfair House and the B-listed Forth House.

A "significant upgrade" would be needed for the site which is currently leased to Radio Forth, the application stated.

Supercity Aparthotels has sites in London, Brighton and Manchester, and has as its target market business travellers and extended stay guests.

The site is in the New Town Conservation Area and UNESCO World Heritage Site and is accessed from Forth Street to the north and Broughton Street Lane to the south.


Forth House was built in 1805 and forms part of a “well-defined New Town block” and Playfair House is a modern office building constructed about 50 years ago.

The application states that “it is likely that the fabric of Playfair House is beyond its functional life and will need significant upgrade to meet current standards”.

The statement continues: “Currently occupied by Radio Forth, significant alterations have taken place internally with the extensive opening up and sub-division of existing spaces.

"Following initial, non-intrusive investigations there appear to be few, if any, features of note. Further investigation would be required to verify if any fabric of historical importance remains.”

HeraldScotland: Plans lodged with City of Edinburgh Council involve Playfair House, inset, and Forth House, background.Plans lodged with City of Edinburgh Council involve Playfair House, inset, and Forth House, background.

A heritage statement prepared by Blackbird Heritage said: “The proposed development will reconfigure and refurbish category B-listed Forth House and retain the existing superstructure of (unlisted) Playfair House to create an aparthotel.”

Blackbird also said: “The building is presently leased to Radio Forth. The proposed development provides an active and sustainable long-term use.

"The proposal will involve the refurbishment and modernisation of Forth House and the reuse of more modern Playfair House to the rear. The interior works involve some removal and alterations to interior walls, they do however ensure that the historic plan form remains legible.

HeraldScotland: The two buildings are linked.The two buildings are linked.

“The proposed new extension and reconfigured extension will be legible as modern interventions and their simple structural form and will ensure that they defer to the historic structures which surround them. Minimal works are proposed to the principal historic elevations.

“The proposed development will ensure that the specific aspects of architectural and historic interest of the building will therefore be preserved.”

The design statement said: "The three original buildings, all on slightly different levels, were repeatedly altered before being fully brought together and later adapted as a radio station in 1977, whereby the interior was almost entirely lost. The radio station was further refurbished again in 1990, removing the last of any extant interior detailing."

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