YOUR report on the travails of the proposed hotel, office, and retail development in Edinburgh's former Haymarket goods yard is hardly a surprise, given the current economic circumstances in the lead-up to Brexit ("Investor sale threatens to derail £200m hotel scheme", The Herald, March 9).

This 650,000 sq ft mix is predicated on an outdated and over-optimistic business model which could only be described as flawed, if not downright toxic. The project's backer, Interserve, which is currently trying to restructure its £600m debt burden, would appear to have seen the writing on the (so far unbuilt) wall, and is wisely bailing out.

The problems of the retail sector across the world are all too obvious. Online shopping is demonstrably undermining traditional bricks and mortar outlets, while in Edinburgh these problems have been distorted by the state-subsidised St James Quarter "galleria" development which is already raising concerns for some around George Street and Princes Street. This inspires little confidence in the high-risk viability of around 50,000 sq ft of retail space at peripheral Haymarket.

The scheme includes two hotels with a total of more than 250 mid-market rooms in a city which is already suffering from a gross over-provision, not to mention such low-cost alternatives as Airbnb. The council's own hotel development schedule contained in its Strategic Planning Policy document of January 2016 noted that "a total of 7,376 rooms have been developed or granted consent since 2007. This is over 184 per cent of the upper target of 4,000 additional rooms required by 2015".

The reliability of the office space component should also be considered alongside the decision by TIAA, backers of the St James Quarter development, to delete the office space from the initial proposal.

Haymarket goods yard should not be written off altogether, however. The 1989 competition-winning scheme by architect Edward Cullinan, which included 360 homes and echoed the crescent layout of the city's West End, while maintaining a high quality modernist idiom, could be usefully resurrected, and might even turn out to be profitable, given the high level of demand in Edinburgh's residential property market.

David J Black,

6 St Giles Street, Edinburgh.