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Sick Kids site redevelopment
PlanningPostJuly 18, 2018, 13:34
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

The planning applications for the redevelopment of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC - "Sick Kids") in Sciennes Road have been submitted to the Council. The detailed applications can be accessed at:
Main planning application
Listed building consent (main hospital building)
Listed building consent (Millerfield Place houses)

The summary statements give a good indication of the plans and are available (in sections) here:
Sections 1 - 4
Sections 5 - 6
Sections 7.1 - 7.6
Sections 7.7 - 7.10
Sections 8.1 - 8.2
Sections 8.3 - 10

The applications followed three public exhibitions and consultation by the developers. The site lies just outside the Grange Association Area but the future of the site is of great significance to our members and we have lodged an objection concerning two areas and a copy of our objection is here:

PlanningPostJuly 31, 2018, 11:52
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

The period for public comment on the planning applications has now closed. The Marchmont Sciennes Community Council has compiled a response on behalf of the local community which is available here.

PlanningPostFebruary 12, 2019, 14:29
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

The applications were approved by the Development Management Sub-Committee on 6 February 2019. A copy of the report that recommended acceptance is available here.

PlanningPostMay 4, 2019, 11:48
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

The Marchmont Sciennes Community Council issued the following update on 1 May 2019:

The Sick Kids Hospital is moving to its new Little France site over a ten day period, starting on the 5th of July. Downing Group will then be able to carry out a site survey to determine what risks are presented by the site, such as asbestos. If any risks are established, they will then need to provide a remedial programme to the planning department, before they can commence work. There are strict limits on noise and nuisance caused by the building work and we will remain engaged with the developers and keep you informed.

Sciennes Primary School Parents Council are continuing to investigate the remodelling of Sciennes Road in front of the school. They have been invited by Sustrans to apply for a grant to pay for traffic research and community consultation prior to generating a design proposal. They will know by the end of June if their application was successful and intend this work to be carried out between September this year and May next year. In the meantime, the road will continue to be closed for most vehicles at school drop off and pick up times. The Community Council will remain engaged with this process so that the wishes of the community are fully appreciated.

As well as restrictions on how the development work is carried out, the planning approval notice stipulates that:

1) The community space identified on the plans is restricted to Class 10 use, which is defined within the planning law as one of the following:

  • as a crèche, day nursery or day centre;
  • for the provision of education;
  • for the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire);
  • as a museum;
  • as a public library or public reading room;
  • as a public hall or exhibition hall;
  • for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction, or the social or recreational activities of a religious body.

The Marchmont and Sciennes Development Trust (MSDT) has now been wound up, primarily because the space being offered was too small to provide a workable community asset as they had envisaged it. The Community Council will continue to press Downing group to find a use for this space which will best benefit the community and the school. [MSCC] would welcome any practical ideas you may have to this end.

2) The proposed change of use of the mortuary chapel and subsequent alterations to the mortuary chapel are not approved. As a result, the Mansfield Traquair Trust and Historic Churches Scotland are approaching Downing group with the intent that the mortuary chapel, in conjunction with the associated building, should be made as accessible to the public as possible.

PlanningPostJanuary 28, 2021, 09:14
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

An application was submitted in January 2021 for Listed Building Consent for external alterations to the Category A Listed Mortuary Chapel. Details are available on the Council's planning portal with reference 21/00331/LBC.

The accompanying Method Statement includes:

  • The proposed remedial works and protective measures can be separated into two categories:
  • - Remedial work to the exterior of the building to make it wind and watertight such that the building itself would continue to provide the protective shell to the murals – these works would be carried out as part of the downtaking of adjacent buildings and small extensions.
    - Protective measures to the murals within the chamber to prevent damage or deterioration during the demolitions and construction works within the site.

  • This method statement has been prepared to set out the work proposed with reference to specialist survey reports and advice. It has been prepared to accompany two applications to City of Edinburgh Council:
  • - A new listed building consent (LBC) application for external downtakings/alterations to the mortuary building as part of the demolition works for the wider site
    - Approval for discharge of condition 8 on planning permission with reference to Application No: 18/02719/FUL – requiring that works to care and protect the murals are put into place in accordance with the related conservation report (supplementary addendum report "RHSC Mortuary Chapel (Edin.) - Phoebe Traquair Murals")

  • The new LBC application is necessary to enable the construction works for the rest of the site and relate to the removal of a small amount of 20th Century hospital extensions/additions to return the mortuary building to a stand-alone building within the site. There are no internal buildings works or alterations proposed, nor change of use. The future of use of the building itself remains uncertain following the continuation of the listed building consent application for alteration of the building to enable its change of use to residential.
  • The remedial works, protection and conservation measures provided in this method statement are deemed those that it is reasonable to expect the developer to carry out as part of the wider site development such that the special interest of the listed building is protected. Full (longer term) conservation and repair works to the murals are not proposed as part of the applications stated above as these would be carried out as part of a construction programme to change the use of the building and associated internal works.
PlanningPostFebruary 17, 2021, 15:26
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April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

We have been contacted by representatives of a building preservation trust that wishes to encourage our members to object to the Council about this application. Their specific concerns are that, by gaining agreement that Condition 8 of its previous planning application has been discharged, the developer could then abandon the mortuary chapel, and the community and the Council would retain no leverage to require the developer to maintain or restore the chapel and the murals.

Condition 8 of the planning permission for the main site includes a requirement for:

  • The care and protection of the murals in the RHSC Mortuary Chapel Building, before, during and after building works.........
  • The proposed work in this new application for Listed Building Consent (LBC) simply puts mitigations in place to protect the chapel and murals from further damage during the demolition and building works on the main site. It does not make any provision for "the care and protection of the murals......after building works".

    Those wishing to lodge objections to this LBC application must do so no later than Friday 26 February 2021, by adding their comments on the Council's planning portal at 21/00331/LBC. If you do lodge an objection, you may wish to be explicit that you do not consider that Condition 8 of the previous planning application 18/02719/FUL would be discharged.

    PlanningPostFebruary 26, 2021, 08:41
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    April 4, 2018, 13:36
    Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

    The Grange Association has submitted this objection to 21/00331/LBC. The background and history are complicated and we have endeavoured to explain the position as follows:

    Planning application 18/02719/FUL was considered at the meeting of the Development Management Sub-Committee (DMSC) on 6 February 2019. This included a proposal for the mortuary chapel to contain two residential flats, one on each of the ground floor and the first floor. Objectors considered that this proposal would threaten the long-term protection of the murals and unduly restrict public access to them. On a split vote of the Councillors present, the decision was taken to grant planning permission for the main site but with conditions including:

    • ……..the proposed change of use of the mortuary chapel and subsequent alterations to the mortuary chapel are not approved;
    • …....continue consideration of the application for Listed Building Consent relating to the Mortuary Chapel building for a period of three months to allow further discussions to take place with the applicants on the long-term preservation of the Phoebe Traquair Murals and use of the Mortuary Chapel.

    The alterations to the mortuary chapel are the subject of Listed Building Consent application 18/02725/LBC which remains “Awaiting Decision”, notwithstanding that more than two years have passed since the DMSC meeting which mandated that the proposals be resolved within “three months”.

    The planning report to the DMSC of 6 February 2019 acknowledged the objections from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to the plans for the mortuary chapel, including HES’s proposed amendment:

    • The proposed conversion of the building should, in our view, be reconfigured from two down to one residential unit that would occupy part of the building. This would allow space for additional support accommodation which would link through the existing doorway to the chapel. To protect the chapel, any revised proposal must ensure that the room space above it is kept free of water supply pipes, drainage or wet central heating pipework.

    While the onus is on the developer to amend the proposals to allow application 18/02725/LBC to be granted, we consider that the HES proposal forms a good basis for acceptable amendments that would allow the murals to be preserved and made available for public access, with space for interpretation on the ground floor. We can see no good reason for the delay in proposing an amended design for the mortuary chapel and we are concerned that there is insufficient leverage on the developer to amend the proposals and to refurbish the chapel in a form that will allow public access to the murals and for the day-to-day management of the chapel then to be passed to a suitable amenity body. There remains a risk that the chapel is simply abandoned in its present state, with the delay in approving 18/02725/LBC cited as an excuse.

    The official letter granting planning permission under 18/02719/FUL for the main site was not issued until 3 August 2020 and it included eight conditions, of which the final two (which have not been discharged) are:

      7. Details of a management agreement relating to the Mortuary Chapel to allow continued public access by prior arrangement to the mortuary chamber containing the Traquair Murals shall be submitted to and approved by the Council, as planning authority, prior to the occupation of the residential units forming part of the converted mortuary chapel building. Public access will be afforded as reasonably practical thereafter (taking cognisance of the status of the site as a building site and any necessary health and safety requirements).

      8. The care and protection of the murals in the RHSC Mortuary Chapel Building, before, during and after building works shall be carried out in accordance with the supplementary addendum report "RHSC Mortuary Chapel (Edin.) - Phoebe Traquair Murals" dated 27 July 2018.

    The obligation on the developer to make public access available for the murals (condition 7 of 18/02719/FUL) must be enforced in a timely manner. The absence of an acceptable amendment to 18/02725/LBC for the internal redevelopment of the mortuary chapel must not be allowed to create a protracted hiatus in the work to restore the murals and provide public access.

    The representations from other community bodies are consistent with our position:

    • At a meeting of the Marchmont & Sciennes Community Council on 24 February 2021, this position paper was agreed.
    • The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland has submitted this objection to 21/00331/LBC.
    PlanningPostApril 1, 2021, 10:07
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    April 4, 2018, 13:36
    Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

    Douglas Rogers of the Marchmont Sciennes Community Council (MSCC) has received the following information from Downing group about what we can expect in the coming months:

    1. Patient and staff migration from RHSC to Little France due to be completed by Easter 2021
    2. This will be followed by an 8-12 week period where decommissioning of the existing RHSC site is undertaken by NHS Lothian
    3. Downing expect to take vacant possession of the site following completion of decommissioning works (c. June/July 2021)
    4. Downing envisage starting on site c. July/August 2021

    These times are subject to change and MSCC will keep us informed on the programme as it evolves. Also MSCC will keep in contact with Downing group and provide updates on access routes and other issues that will impact on local residents. It is very encouraging that work will start as soon as the NHS has removed everything and that the site will not be left derelict. But please post notes to this thread to share any changes to the site that you observe or any issues that are of concern.

    MSCC has had a very encouraging report from Downing's consultants on its commitment to restore the murals in the Mortuary chapel. Those who came to the public exhibitions will no doubt remember Catharine Kidd, who is its author. She has a deep interest in all the historic aspects of the site and she will ensure, as far as possible, that all aspects of the existing buildings and the murals are preserved.

    MSCC is in contact with Historic Churches Scotland and other parties that are seeking to make the murals accessible by taking over the whole of the Mortuary chapel and will keep us informed about how this progresses.

    PlanningPostAugust 14, 2021, 09:43
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    April 4, 2018, 13:36
    Normal topicSick Kids site redevelopment

    Divestment by Downing of all except student accommodation

    Downing is offering the site for sale, with the exception of the student accommodation. The sale's brochure describes seven lots, comprising the main hospital building and the existing properties on Millerfield Place, Rillbank Terrace and Rillbank Crescent. It has termed the site "Royal Meadows".

    Lot 1 is the main hospital building, including the former pharmacy store and the mortuary chapel. The brochure states:

    "A Planning Application is submitted on the Mortuary Chapel to sensitively create two apartments that will be independently accessed.
    "The Traquair murals are to be preserved, within the chapel itself, and controlled access to the public will be maintained."

    We understand that this refers to 18/02725/LBC which is the application by Downing in June 2018 for conversion of the mortuary chapel to include two flats. This application was not approved by the Development Management Sub-Committee - as described at length two posts above here - and Downing has been asked to modify and moderate the proposals. No changes have yet been proposed and the application remains "Awaiting Decision" on the Council's planning portal.

    We do not expect this divestment by Downing to alter any of the planning conditions and so the artists' impressions of the final site, viewed from the south and from the north, should be unaltered.

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