Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Panmure House Inquiry Opens 2 and 3 March 2011

When Edinburgh Business School (Heriot-Watt University), bought Panmure House in 2008, the expectation was that the survey and restoration work (costing up to £3 million) would begin fairly quickly.

That expectation underestimated the obstruction caused by Scotland’s planning regulations. Panmure House was built in 1697 and was the residence of Adam Smith from 1778 until he died in 1790.

It lay semi-derelict for many years and latterly was used as a council-run club for ‘rowdy youths’. Internally it was renovated several times, leaving hardly anything of the original internal walls, stairs and structure. Only the outside walls remain, though in a poor state, as is the roof, of the original 17th-century structure.

The main objections to the EBS plans comes from a statuary state body, Scottish Heritage, focussing mainly its opposition to a proposed glass atrium, which would allow other state regulations on wheel-chair access to be met.

Because the parties are deadlocked, the Scottish Government has ‘called in’ the EBS proposals and appointed a Reporter to adjudicate and make a recommendation one way or the other, or, perhaps propose a compromise agreeable to the parties.

Wednesday’s meeting is the presentation of the EBS proposals and Thursday's is Scottish Heritage’s presentation of their objections. After this, the Reporter retires for about a month to consider his verdict and send it to the Scottish Government.

I shall attend the public sessions, hopefully on both days. I shall also report anything likely to be of interest to readers of Lost Legacy.

EBS intends to renovate Panmure House as an international postgraduate research centre for studies related to Adam Smith, and others in the Scottish Enlightenment, and how markets can to social benefits (no- nothing about 'invisible hand' myths!).



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