Fear B&B will bring influx of drug users

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FRESH plans to transform a listed building into a hotel have been slammed by neighbours who fear it will become a haven for drug takers and the homeless.

Developers want to turn the former Leith post office building in Constitution Street into a 13-room resort.

A bid to open an 11-room bed and breakfast was rejected by city planning chiefs in 2011 before a successful appeal to the Scottish Government a year later.

The building has lain dormant, but now a fresh planning proposal has been submitted by the Cameron Guest House Group, which is run by Kamran Akbar.

Residents fear that if it is given the go-ahead, the hotel would be used to house drug users and homeless people.

A property run by the Cameron Guest House Group in London Street attracted complaints of drug-taking, people having sex in the garden and tenants living in “appalling conditions” in 2003.
Another home in Leith was the focus of complaints regarding the poor standard of maintenance, while plans by the company to open a refuge for homeless women in Portobello drew 234 objections.

Peter Stuart, owner of the Constitution bar and restaurant opposite the building, said the new proposal was unwelcome.

“It sounds like they’re crowbarring people in, and I wouldn’t be particularly happy about that,” he said.

“There’s a huge umbrella of terminology that sometimes allows people to do various things. If it is going to become a halfway house for people with issues, then obviously people will have concerns about that.

“It really is quite a nice street, and you don’t want to be judgmental about people, but there’s a fine balance between what’s right and what isn’t right.”

Leith councillor Gordon Munro said: “The plans submitted previously could have been used for another purpose, and the local community were very concerned about that, given that the bulk of the business conducted by the company is actually in bed and breakfast accommodation.

“I understand their concern. There is an overprovision of that type of bed-and-breakfast provision within Leith.”

Cameron Guest House Group declined to comment.