In Edinburgh right now it seems like there is always some sort of building construction going on and this is echoed from the mass demolition of the St James Centre at the end of Princess Street. Perhaps this is just a sign of the amount of investment that is going into the UK’s most beautiful city.
Well it seems that our city is under-going another development, except in a more inconspicuous location that is tucked in by the Old Town at New Waverley. As part of the ‘New Waverley Project,’ a special modern hub will be built to help relocate nearly 3,000 UK civil servants that will move from London, to Edinburgh’s ‘centre of new excellence for public services’ in 2020.
As part of a greater project to more evenly distribute the number of civil servants throughout the UK, the project will spread 58,000 employees across 170 offices around the country, with Glasgow being the only other Scottish city included. As a result, the HMRC offices in Aberdeen, Dundee and Livingston will close down, leaving Scotland with two centres in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is said that the new building will take up around 170,000 feet at its new location at New Waverley.
From what we have gathered, it is said that this new development will be a symbolic sign of the government adapting to the new digital age, where the new building will enable better investments in infrastructure, skills training and online services. The relocation of these civil servants to much more digitally advanced and modern offices is believed to significantly improve the efficiency due to its ability to utilise the space more, as well as encouraging departments to collaborate with greater ease.
By promoting closer relationships within the civil service, they believe that it will help to improve their competency in collecting taxes. In terms of Edinburgh’s economy, the government believes that the relocation of nearly 3,000 civil servants to Edinburgh will help to promote growth to the city.
Despite the economic advantages of the New Waverley project, it has received a lot of criticism from many famous authors. This list includes Irvine Welsh, Alexander McCall Smith, William Boyd and Janice Galloway in which they released a joint statement, criticising the new designs as ‘massive, stale, sterile modernist confection of concrete,’ that will ‘tear apart the fabric of this great city.’
Although the re-development is beneficial in an economical sense, some member of the city will question the inability of the building’s architectural design to harmoniously blend in with the Old Town.
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