Well, this subject doesn't seem like it's going to go away soon, and it's inspired a lot of debate on the Edinburgh Development thread. Anyway, from today's Scotsman:
City 'nothing to fear from Unesco threat' says design guru
Published Date: 03 September 2008
By BRIAN FERGUSON
EDINBURGH'S controversial design champion has intervened for the first time in the debate over the capital's world heritage status – insisting the city has "nothing to fear" from a Unesco investigation.
Sir Terry Farrell said he was "relaxed" about the massive Caltongate and Haymarket developments recently given the go-ahead by the city council, despite fears they will see Edinburgh stripped of its title.
With one leading architect branding Unesco the "conservation mafia" and another dubbing the city heritage group the Cockburn Association "toxic", Sir Terry has pleaded for calm.
But he expressed growing concerns about how Princes Street will look once trams are introduced and urged the Scottish Government to review the case for extra funding, it being ruled out only last week.
Sir Terry has called for a complete traffic ban from the thoroughfare, other than trams, and three major pedestrian-friendly areas – at the West End, the foot of The Mound and outside the Balmoral Hotel – to help transform Princes Street.
The appointment of Sir Terry, the masterplanner for Edinburgh's financial district, was unveiled four years ago by the council, but he has been criticised for a lack of achievement in the role.
Malcolm Fraser, one of the Caltongate architects, has accused Sir Terry of fronting a "design leadership circus". Mr Fraser said: "Without power or a defined role, Farrell and Ricardo Marini (Sir Terry's deputy] resort to grandstanding their design leadership status, adding to our confusion and leaving practices like mine unable to point to a single positive outcome."
Mr Fraser accused the Cockburn Association of leading a "toxic" wing of the heritage lobby in the city, adding: "There are significant sections (of the lobby] that forget it is architects and mastermasons, and not them, that have led the conception of adornment of this breathtaking city."
Meanwhile Richard Murphy, who has designed the 17-storey hotel at Haymarket, turned the temperature up even further. Referring to the recent visit of Unesco director-general, Koichiro Matsuura, Mr Murphy branded his organisation a "conservation mafia", adding: "I suspect that this whole Unesco relationship is a cosy little club."
However Sir Terry has defended the architects insisting Edinburgh should not be too concerned about the forthcoming visit by Unesco inspectors.
He said: "They're looking at Edinburgh as they would any other capital city. We have nothing to fear. We have good architects working in the city and I'm relaxed about the developments that have been approved. It has to be taken in context. Edinburgh is a living, working city."