Controversial plans to demolish and redevelop a former Royal Bank of Scotland site in Edinburgh’s New Town have been withdrawn.

The bank had applied for permission to demolish its premises at Fettes Row to make way for a residential-led development of up to 400 flats.

However, bosses have now scrapped the application, claiming it is “more appropriate” for whoever buys the site to seek their own planning permission.

The move has been welcomed by campaigners and local residents who opposed the long-running application.

Resident Judith Symes, of Fettes Row, who argued that the demolition of the office space would prevent the creation of jobs in the area, described the decision as “very positive news”.

She added: “Our thanks go to statutory bodies such as Historic Environment Scotland, local organisations such as the Broughton and New Town Community Council, and the Fettes Row and Royal Crescent Residents’ Association for their comments and support, we do not underestimate the influence and weight your support and objections as local residents carried.

“We will be sure to keep a watch on any plans for the site.”

Objectors collected hundreds of signatures on a petition against the development - which also included a hotel, care home, shops and restaurants - and the proposals attracted more than 700 comments on Edinburgh City Council’s planning website.

It was previously reported that the offices provided space for up to 2000 jobs which could be lost as part of the new development.

An RBS spokeswoman said: “As we are not ultimately intending to develop the site ourselves, it became more appropriate, after detailed discussions with the Council’s planning department, for the final developer to submit their own more detailed planning application and agree the design detail with the Council directly.

“Developer demand for the site remains very strong, and we will now market it with the benefit of extensive preparatory work being completed.

“We look forward to working with interested parties to deliver a market leading scheme for Edinburgh.”