Accies’ drinks licence to ‘create new Grassmarket’

Stockbridge householders gather at the site of the �8m Accies redevlopment. Picture: Toby Williams

Stockbridge householders gather at the site of the �8m Accies redevlopment. Picture: Toby Williams

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DEVELOPERS behind the £8 million Edinburgh Accies ­revamp have launched a bid to sell alcohol until 3am – sparking fears the surrounding area will become a violence and ­disorder hotspot.

Stockbridge residents said moves to license a 5000-capacity stadium, restaurants and a grocer would turn the historic neighbourhood into the Capital’s “next Grassmarket”.

And they have accused ­Accies of being “two-faced” in seeking to promote sport through the sale of alcohol.

If approved, licence applications filed by Raeburn Place Foundation Ltd, which is leading the planned development, would allow customers to purchase drink until 1am – extended to 3am during the Edinburgh Festival and over Christmas and New Year.

Nick Evans, 64, who lives next to the development site, said: “They want to license the whole of the ground area for concerts, wedding fairs, business events, live music and so on.

“Can you imagine what that will mean for transport, outdoor noise, our enjoyment of the outdoor environment?

“You could have hundreds, if not thousands, leaving here at one o’clock in the morning, taxis coming to pick them up, people looking for their cars round about here. Comely Bank Road does not deserve to become the next Grassmarket.”

The row is the latest controversy to hit the landmark project.

Earlier this year, the Evening News revealed that the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman had criticised developers for failing to carry out a full transport assessment.

Protesters today called on the Capital’s licensing board to defer consideration of the applications so the public, police and NHS staff can properly scrutinise them.

Local resident Edith Hirst, 79, said: “How would you like to live in one of these flats and have to face what is going to come out of those buildings after one of these events?

“I do not look forward to people hanging over [garden walls], vomiting and other things.

“This is supposed to be a residential area. Why on earth should people have to put up with all of that, particularly when 99 per cent of the people using it will not live in this area?”

She added: “Everyone feels that the council has let them down so badly, and continues to do so.

“We are totally and utterly ignored, and I think it’s appalling.”

Michael Clayton, 37, another local resident, said: “You cannot have five to six thousand people in there – there’s no way we can cope with it. [Traffic] isn’t going to move.”

Raeburn Place Foundation declined to comment on the concerns but stressed that the ground would be used primarily as a sports venue.

City council officials confirmed the licence applications had been received.