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Submitted by Editor on

Latest news from Edinburgh Council’s Planning Portal reveals another refusal for change of use from domestic dwelling to commercial short-term let (STL). 

This one concerns a first-floor flat in Montgomery Street (Ref. 19/04099/FUL), and the accompanying report serves as a useful model for anyone seeking to object to similar applications in future. 

In summary, the Committee Report concludes that ‘The proposal does not comply with policy Hou 7 and Env 6 of the Edinburgh Local Development Plan and the Council's Guidance for Businesses.

‘The proposed change of use would have an unacceptable impact on residential amenity and the established character of the area. There are no other material considerations to outweigh this conclusion.’

In detail, it finds:

  • Because the flat has no direct access to the street, there would likely be direct (and unacceptable) contact between guests and permanent residents on the common stair.
  • On the balance of probability, there could be the potential for disturbance to the established residential character of the neighbourhood and of the New Town Conservation Area.
  • There would likely be a detrimental impact on residential amenity.

Spurtle welcomes the decision, and hopes similar common-sensical responses will be made to many of the 130+ outstanding enforcement cases relating to STL uses across the city.

In due course, a recent Scottish Government decision should open the way to a far more effective system of licensing for STLs (see Issue 292, out soon).

In the meantime, though, a likely consequence of the Council’s consistent refusals of planning consent will be that even fewer potential STL landlords seek permission before starting to operate such businesses under the radar.

It is obvious, therefore, that a licensing system with legal teeth and sufficient staff resources to operate it cannot come soon enough for Broughton and other parts of the city centre.

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