A controversial plan to demolish two office blocks to build 49 homes in the New Town in the Scottish capital has been recommended for approval.

The proposal submitted by Morgan Architects for MMMARS Dundas Limited also includes a shop, office and restaurant space at the corner of Dundas Street and Fettes Row and comes after a similar plan for the site was refused.

It comes as Edinburgh World Heritage watchdogs said the amended proposals would cause harm to the "outstanding universal value" (OUV) of the World Heritage Site.

The new application submitted for the mixed-use redevelopment of 108-114 and 116 Dundas Street, known as Centrum House and Bupa House, as well as private and communal amenity space, landscaping and basement level car and cycle parking.

The latest application was referred to a planning sub-committee tomorrow “because 18 material objections have been received and it is recommended for approval".

The Herald: The existing site, left, and the new plansThe existing site, left, and the new plans (Image: Google/Morgan Architects)

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A report to the council states: “The 2020 application proposed 50 flats within an almost identically designed building to the one currently proposed, but with two key amendments.

“The facade of the corner block on Fettes Row has been pushed back by one metre to align with the main facade on Fettes Row and the cantilevered element at ground floor now comprises a continuation of the stone facade to ground level as piers framing the commercial shopfronts.

"The north section of the building on Dundas Street has been moved back from the building line of 120 Dundas Street line by 1.4 metres to maintain the immediate outlook of the south facing windows in the latter block.”

It added: “The original scheme proposed a roof terrace for flat 07-01 on Dundas Street extending the whole width of the flat and full depth of the area between the penthouse building line and main building line.

"In the amended scheme, this terrace has been reduced significantly in area and a planter screen has been introduced to safeguard privacy.”

Edinburgh World Heritage said: “Our previous response advised that amendments were made to the proposed intervention to address the harmful impact the proposal would have on the OUV of the World Heritage Site through development within its setting.”

This included “removal of the top storey of the development and introduce a roofscape design which reinforces local character and “further step down the height of the Fettes Row elevation after the corner block to respond to local heights and hierarchies of secondary versus primary streets”.

EWH said: "Whilst we acknowledge the improvement of using more contextual materials for the ground floor commercial space, limited amendments have been made with respect to our comments.

"We therefore ... consider that the proposals would cause harm to the OUV of the World Heritage Site and therefore cannot support the proposals in their current form in line with relevant legislation and planning policy."

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