CAMPAIGNERS bidding to stop a major pub chain from transforming a historic chapel into a huge new bar say the move will provide a magnet for rowdy behaviour.
Dozens of objectors to the Waxy O’Connors – which would hold 900 revellers over five floors – met on Thursday to thrash out a strategy for derailing the bid amid concerns a transformed Charlotte Chapel venue would become a hotbed of antisocial behaviour.
The Rose Street landmark – which is more than 200 years old – would be converted into a huge superpub under plans being hatched by Glendola Leisure Group, which also owns Frankenstein’s on George IV Bridge.
But residents claim the large venue would blight the lives of people living in the 75 flats in the surrounding area and become a haven for stag and hen parties.
And they hit out at Charlotte Baptist Chapel for agreeing to consider selling the religious building to a pub firm.
Architect Neil Simpson, 37, who has lived opposite the Rose Street landmark for two decades, said city centre residents had a “high tolerance threshold” but feared many would move away from the area if the planning bid is given the green light.
“We deserve a bit of peace and quiet that will always be tempered by city centre living, but we are now at a tipping point and would consider moving from the area – a pretty radical step – if this goes ahead,” he said.
“If the council really had any ambition for a mixed-use city centre rather than making it mono-functional with shops and pubs catering to a very narrow section of the population this is not the way.
“Residents are the glue between day-time trade and night time and I would argue that we add to the civilising of the place because of our presence.
“We are able to report the worst of activities that happen along here and I really think we need to be taken into account.”
Mr Simpson said there are already seven pubs between South Castle Street and South Charlotte Street and the impact of a 900-capacity venue would be “devastating”.
Douglas Thomson, 79, the landlord of a flat neighbouring the planned superpub, said: “I’m concerned for my tenants and I think it will be devastating for their ability to carry on and get to sleep.
“It will have a grave impact on the value of the property. Greed seems to have overtaken the needs of the residents. I have got to the stage where I can’t follow what the council decides.
“Residents, who are voters of course, should be the number one concern. I can’t understand why Charlotte Baptist Church would want to sell to a pub firm.
Bosses at the bar chain previously said it would become “one of the most iconic venues” in Edinburgh if it passes the planning phase.
No-one at Glendola Leisure Group could be reached for comment and no-one at the Charlotte Chapel was available to speak about the plans.