PLANS for the large-scale restoration of a much loved but neglected Edinburgh landmark have been scaled back after costs for the project escalated.

The Scotsman reported that greenlit plans to transform the Royal High School on Calton Hill into a new home for St Mary’s independent music school have been scrapped after costs ballooned from an estimated £45 million to around £110 million.

Instead, the Royal High School Preservation Trust, which was working with the school, said it will pursue plans to establish a National Centre for Music at the site.

It comes just months after City of Edinburgh councillors approved a lease agreement for the building, with work beginning on a feasibility study for the music school plans.

The Royal High School has sat empty for decades with the music school proposal seen as a long-awaited solution to the building’s future.

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Controversial plans to turn the site into a hotel were turned down by the Scottish Government before councillors agreed upon turning it back into an educational establishment.

William Gray Muir, the chair of the Royal High School Preservation Trust, said: “In light of the changing economic backdrop, the trust’s professional team has undertaken a detailed feasibility study which regrettably has concluded that creating suitable new facilities for a specialist music school, in new buildings adjacent to Thomas Hamilton’s original school is simply not possible within our existing budget.

"Although different to our original plans, the new vision is genuinely exciting with greater public access and even more significant public benefit.

“The absolute priority of the board is the preservation of this building and putting it back into the public life of Edinburgh.”

Council leader Cammy Day said: “We’re aware of the proposed change to the scheme and remain supportive of a project which will preserve a key historical building in the city.”