Planning Application Submitted to Edinburgh Council for Proposed New Filmhouse

The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), the body behind Edinburgh’s well-loved arthouse cinema that inhabits the 190-year-old listed church building on Lothian Road, the Filmhouse, has submitted a full Planning Application to the City of Edinburgh Council for their proposed New Filmhouse. 

The proposed design, by Richard Murphy Architects, follows a 4 month long public consultation process following its launch in March 2020. This has resulted in a reduction in the height, improved access arrangements within the building and more detailed proposals for the successful management of Festival Square as a public space.

The aim is to create a new landmark home for the Filmhouse and the Edinburgh International Film Festival that will be a local, national and international hub for community engagement and learning; talent and skills development; film programming and audience engagement with the joint hope that it will benefit both the city’s residents and Scotland’s film industry. Add to that aim, one that the new building will help bring new life the public space that is Festival Square and you have high ambition.

The New Filmhouse project, that looks to attract over 800,000 individual visits each year, and work with more than 200 partners and organisations, aims to retain the independence of spirit, identity and programming of the existing Filmhouse but deliver it in their state-of-the-art cinemas. The building plans to house learning suites; event,  meeting and work  spaces; an expanded café bar; a separate restaurant; rooftop terrace and public viewpoint.

Ken Hay, CEO of Centre for the Moving Image (incorporating Filmhouse and Edinburgh International Film Festival) 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.” 

The proposed New Filmhouse, that is the conclusion of 30 years of discussion and debate, will operate on a net zero carbon basis from day one while actively encouraging   staff and audiences to utilise low carbon travel options.

The newly submitted full Planning Application is expected to go live very soon with a decision expected by early summer 2021. If successful, it is hoped that construction may begin in 2023 for completion in 2025.  Comments can be made to the via the Council’s planning portal between the application going live and late January 2021.

Irene Brown

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