The council has decided to put the former Royal High School on the open market after a tortuous planning process which has resulted in one party having planning permission but no legal right to occupy the building.

The full story is here following the meeting of Finance & Resources on Thursday where the matter was discussed behind closed doors owing to the commercial sensitivity of the various arrangements.

Councillor Rob Munn, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee, said: “I’m pleased that committee has unanimously agreed that we can now move forward and remarket this iconic building to identify the best value option for the city and our residents in the future.

“We know there are a number of interested parties out there and I think this is also the best and fairest way to proceed. A report with further details on how we’ll take this forward will be considered by councillors in May.”

Councillor Joan Griffiths, Vice Convener, added: “I’m delighted we now have a way ahead and I look forward to seeing the options presented to us at a future committee which could occupy this very important building, so prominent in our World Heritage site.”

Heritage group warns about pursuing only economic benefit

The Cockburn Association said after the meeting: “We believe that any new procurement exercise for the Royal High School must emphasise the need to secure public benefit over economic value, recognising the civic status of this iconic building.”

Their chairperson, Professor @CliffHague, added: “Thousands of Edinburgh citizens objected to the hotel applications, ending the current impasse is welcome…

“A proposal such as the Music School scheme prepared by the @rhspt seems an excellent alternative, worthy of continued support. Any other proposal must ensure as wide a civic and public benefit as possible for this finest example of Greek Revival architecture in the world.

“The Council and Scottish Government have a responsibility, as do we all, to enhance the qualities of the Edinburgh’s architectural and landscape heritage and ensure its preservation for future generations to cherish.”

Royal High School. Photo: Martin P. McAdam