Edinburgh Filmhouse new design plans lodged

The new Edinburgh Filmhouse plans

The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) has submitted a full planning application for the proposed New Filmhouse in Edinburgh’s Festival Square to City of Edinburgh Council’s planning department.  

The move follows public consultation for four months.

The CMI is a registered Scottish charity incorporating Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

The New Filmhouse  will  be a world-class centre for film designed by Richard Murphy Architects and will create a landmark home for the  Filmhouse  and  Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The design of the New Filmhouse has evolved following the consultation process, resulting in a reduction in height, improved access arrangements within the building and more detailed proposals for management of Festival Square as a public space. 

The existing Filmhouse operates in a 190-year-old listed church building and cannot be redeveloped to deliver a viable fit for purpose building.  

Ken Hay, CEO of Centre for the Moving Image, said: “We want the New Filmhouse to be the catalyst that  transforms  Festival Square  so that it becomes a used and exciting public space.

“ This  new  building itself  will generate a lot of life in the Square,  and  we will design the Square to be welcoming and work collaboratively with our neighbours, the City Council and key cultural partners in managing the use of the Square for the benefit of the people of Edinburgh.  

“As a cultural charity with a strong commitment to the social impact of its work we believe Filmhouse  will  be a great caretaker of what could become a much more inviting and valued public space. 

“And our commitment to environmental sustainability means that the building will operate on a net zero carbon basis from its first day of opening.” 

Sandy Begbie, chair of Centre for the Moving Image, said: “We believe in the power of film to transform lives – whether watching, making or learning about film.

“We want the  New Filmhouse to be a  vibrant  and  exciting  community of film for the people of Edinburgh and Scotland, a place for anyone who loves film to come together in the one space. 

“We want our new home to be  inspiring and  fully accessible for everyone – physically and emotionally – so whoever you are and wherever you’re from you’ll be welcome and able to access and participate in all that we do. 

“Edinburgh is home to internationally recognised landmark museums, galleries, concert halls and theatres – each celebrations of their respective artforms. 

“The New Filmhouse will be a fitting addition to these – a celebration of film, the most popular artform of the 20th and 21st centuries.”  

The  full planning application has just been submitted and is expected to go live soon. A decision is expected by early summer 2021. If successful, it is hoped that construction can begin in 2023 for completion in 2025.   

Comments can be made to the Council through its planning portal between the application going live and late January.