Retrospective Planning

As some will know, the Botanic Gardens have submitted a retrospective ammendment to their planning permission for the (already errected) Botanic Cottage. The Society has submitted a comment to the Council as follows:

The project to reconstruct the Botanic Cottage has clearly produced some worthwhile benefits and the Society has been broadly supportive of several of its objectives. However the Society is concerned that the appearance of the North elevation as built conflicts with the character of the Conservation Area.

The ramped access and the wc doors are unduly predominant features of the elevation as viewed from Inverleith Place. As built, the ramp is closer to the boundary railings than in the original permission and changes to the door openings also result in a greater visual impact.

The landscaping and planting as executed will not screen the elevation satisfactorily for many years. The yew hedge planted inside the railings will take at least ten years (perhaps longer) to reach the height indicated on the planning application drawings and before it could be regarded as providing a satisfactory visual screen. The omission of the hedge planting to either side of the North access is also unhelpful in this respect.

Whereas the design of the rest of the exterior is clearly shaped by the desire to achieve an historically appropriate reconstruction, the North elevation is treated as a completely subsidiary element of the project incorporating a cluster of modern era service functions. This has resulted in an unsightly elevation which presents an entirely unsuitable frontage to the public footway of one of the principal streets of the Conservation Area.

The Society considers that approval should only be granted for this application subject to an enforceable condition requiring the immediate creation of some substantial visual screening between the North elevation and the boundary railings. Suitable screening could be either constructed or planted, or it might be a combination of both, but it should have sufficient height and substance to mitigate the negative visual impact of the North elevation when viewed from Inverleith Place.

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