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Monday, November 15, 1999 Published at 06:07 GMT

UK: Scotland

National Trust's flagship HQ opens

Edinburgh's New Town is a World Heritage Site

The National Trust for Scotland has denied claims that a project to restore part of Edinburgh's New Town has led to a budget deficit and forced cutbacks elsewhere in the organisation.

The Trust has returned the south side of Charlotte Square to its former glory, using more than 13m of lottery and public funding.

The elegant Georgian houses have been brought back to life after years of neglect.

The square was partly deserted in the 1980s by companies which were not allowed to adapt the listed buildings for modern needs.

Public access

Charlotte Square was designed by architect Robert Adam in 1792, the year of his death, and now forms part of a World Heritage Site.

After three years' work, the results of the massive restoration project on the southside will be unveiled to the public.

As well as using the buildings as a head office for 120 staff, the trust will be encouraging public access and is creating new jobs with the opening of new public facilities.

People will be able to see galleries, do some shopping or have something to eat in the centre, which will be open all year round.

But the gloss has been taken off Monday's opening ceremony by suggestions the trust is facing cutbacks because of a 1m overspend.

It has been reported some offices will be closed and staff made redundant in order to make up the shortfall.

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