BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 22:58 GMT
Demolition begins after fire
Workmen in crane basket
Workmen set about demolishing the buildings
Work has begun to demolish buildings destroyed by fire in the historic Old Town area of Edinburgh.

The blaze, which started on Saturday evening, destroyed buildings in the Cowgate area and caused damage estimated to be worth millions of pounds.

Edinburgh City Council said clearance work will continue into the new year with the operation completed by Easter.

A city council spokeswoman said all demolition will be restricted to daylight hours, and the waste material will be damped down to minimise dust.

Traffic routes via South Bridge and Cowgate will be closed for some time.

A former outdoor clothing shop in South Bridge was the first to be demolished on Wednesday afternoon by workers operating from two steel cages.

The cages were hoisted level with the top of the five-storey Victorian building by two 30 metre-high cranes.

We have 3D images of all the buildings so that what comes down can be recreated if we choose to do so

Council leader Donald Anderson
The council said work on the buildings was being carried out in a "painstaking fashion" to protect the flats opposite which were undamaged by the fire.

However, a group of conservation experts is questioning the decision to go ahead with such an extensive demolition.

Ben Tindall of the Ancient Buildings Protection Society said: "Our concern is that the grain of the city will be lost and we will end up with poor materials that don't age properly - and that a core part of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site will be devalued."

Council leader Donald Anderson replied: "Aspects of these buildings will be preserved.

"We have 3D images of all the buildings so that what comes down can be recreated if we choose to do so.

Fire scene - Alex Hunsley
The cause is yet to be established
"But we have got a huge public safety issue."

Experts who are trying to discover the cause of Saturday night's blaze are continuing their investigation.

Police and fire brigade Investigators began their inquiries on Tuesday after being given access to the badly damaged properties.

The emergency services said there was as yet no indication as to the cause of the blaze.

About 13 buildings in the World Heritage site were destroyed, including the world-famous Gilded Balloon comedy club in Cowgate.

Benefit gig

A spokesman for the club said that a benefit gig will take place in London to raise funds for the venue.

Top names including Alistair McGowan, Ronni Ancona, Steve Coogan, Rich Hall and Daniel Kitson will be performing at London's Piccadilly Theatre on 19 January.

The spokesman said: "The Gilded Balloon outwith the festival is an office block so there were about nine businesses which were affected.

"Profits will be split evenly between the Gilded Balloon and them."

Scotland's culture and tourism minister Mike Watson is expected to visit the site in the next few days.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Nigel Robson reports
"Conservation experts believe the demolition decision was reached hastily"
See also:

10 Dec 02 | Scotland
09 Dec 02 | Scotland
09 Dec 02 | Scotland
09 Dec 02 | Entertainment
09 Dec 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes