“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 Old Town community and the Edinburgh Central Library:

Having handed out thousands of leaflets, written hundreds of letters, climbed up trees and even taken the case to the Courts, we’re running out of options… time to try the emergency Section 65 strategy!

If you haven’t yet signed the petition PLEASE DO and share with others:



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

The proposed 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:



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, the proposed hotel would block iconic views to Edinburgh Castle from the Edinburgh and Scottish Rooms, significantly reducing light to a building purposely designed to maximise natural light, complimented by the Sun’s rays and inscription set above the main 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.

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

Aside from the Library, the proposed development would also have very serious implications for the Old Town community, already reaching a critical point 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.



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


Dunfermline Library, the first of 3000 libraries Carnegie established across the World, has just been honoured with an award winning extension.

Meanwhile down in England, Birmingham Council has recently spent almost £200 million on a new central library which has become a key focal point, infusing the city with a sense of pride and worth, redefining the importance of the public library as a beacon of Civilisation in the 21st century.

With sufficient support, Edinburgh Central Library can resist these predatory times of austerity and be respectfully honoured, ensuring a bright future that enriches Edinburgh’s cultural heritage, infusing coming generations with enlightenment!


“I have spent many, many hours reading, researching and borrowing books from the Central Library over the years, and am appalled at the City Council’s low regard for what should be cherished, and cared for, as one of Edinburgh’s cultural jewels”.

                                                                                        – James Robertson


Thank You for taking the time to consider this important campaign…


Let There Be Light!