“We must stop destroying this magnificent city. It’s all very well catering for visitors, but we need to ask: why do they come here in the first place? They come here to see one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

So, if we want to have visitors, let’s not wreck it. We have a responsibility to the world and at the moment we are showing ourselves unfit to discharge it. Shame on us. Shame.”

                                                           – Alexander McCall Smith

For a one page critique of the highly controversial proposed hotel development which fundamentally threatens the future of the Edinburgh Central Library:

If you only have a moment to spare, then please sign the petition and share with others:

To financially support the legal action to ‘SAVE Edinburgh Central Library’ in taking Edinburgh Council to court to challenge the planning consent for this outrageous hotel, which besides threatening the future of the Library has resulted in the disposal of key public assets of considerable historic, social and cultural value WITHOUT ANY public consultation to discuss alternative options:


This proposed ‘development’ has been somewhat overlooked by all the other contentious ‘developments’, such as the old Royal High School, St James Centre, St Andrew Square… etc.

The hotel would take all the adjoining land at the Cowgate, otherwise long set aside to further develop the Central Library as a wonderful cultural hub, befitting and enriching Edinburgh’s title as the:


1st UNESCO World City of Literature


To lose the land of the Cowgate would be to dishonour the Library’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, who at the opening ceremony in 1890 stated:


“We trust that this Library is to grow in usefulness year after year

and prove one of the most potent agencies

for the good of the people of Edinburgh for all time to come”.


“I warmly support this righteous protest by the citizens of Edinburgh against the unacceptable plans of the City Council for the Central Library and its environs.”

– Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine.


Besides fundamentally compromising the Library’s future development, the proposed hotel would block iconic views to Edinburgh Castle, significantly reducing light to a building purposely designed to maximise natural light, complimented by the inscription set above the Sun’s rays over the main public entrance:



Inspired by Robert Burns and the Scottish Enlightenment, Scots born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie established thousands of public libraries throughout the World.
The Edinburgh Central Library, Carnegie’s finest Scottish Library, was the first public library in the city and is now the busiest lending library in the country.


Aside from the Library, the proposed development would also have very serious implications for the Old Town community, already in critical decline due to the commercial pressures of recent years, adding to the excessive levels of congestion, noise and air pollution, in breach of regulations, while putting the future of the World Heritage status at further risk.

“On the face of it, this seems an extraordinary betrayal of Carnegie’s intentions and a slap in the face for Edinburgh’s great cultural heritage. The details suggest an even more cynical approach by the Council.”

– Rory Bremner

“No millionaire will go wrong in his search for one of the best forms for the use of his surplus who chooses to establish a free library in any community that is willing to maintain and develop it… A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert… There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library; this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Thank You for taking the time to consider this important campaign. With sufficient support this tragedy can be averted and Edinburgh Central Library can look forward to a worthy future, enriching and empowering coming generations in the context of a vibrant local and global community.