Locals object to Edinburgh Accies 3am license bid

An artist's impression of the Edinburgh Accademicals development plans for the ground at Raeburn Place. Picture: Contributed

An artist's impression of the Edinburgh Accademicals development plans for the ground at Raeburn Place. Picture: Contributed

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HUNDREDS of objections have been lodged against a controversial bid by Edinburgh Accies to sell alcohol until 3am as part of an £8 million revamp of their ground in Stockbridge.

Residents fear Scotland’s oldest rugby club’s bid to license a 5000-capacity stadium, restaurants and grocer will turn the area into a hotspot for disorder.

5600 people live in Stockbridge. If this is approved, revellers will outnumber residents

Bruce Thompson

And more than 300 objections have been sent to the city’s licensing board since the Evening News revealed the drinks plan two weeks ago. The board is due to make a decision on Monday.

Bruce Thompson, chairman of Save Stockbridge, said the scale of what was proposed was a major worry for residents.

He said: “Comely Bank/Stockbridge is a pleasant place, quiet, peaceful and friendly, with many green spaces. It has recently been named one of the nicest places to live in the UK.

“The Academicals want suites of function rooms with bars, licensed restaurants for hundreds of diners, with drinkers spilling out on to the pavement outside, plus yet another shop licensed for off-sales – and a clubhouse/bar.

“Just over 5600 people live in Comely Bank/Stockbridge. If these licences, with a total capacity of 6364 were approved, revellers would outnumber residents. It would double the population, with potentially a huge exodus at 3am.”

Mr Thompson said there were already 40 licensed premises in the area, which was “more than enough”.

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.

Mr Thompson said the plans would have a “mega” impact on the area, with extra traffic, noise, a huge influx of people, a likely increase in alcohol consumption and over-drinking and parking problems.

“In a predominantly residential area it would change our way of life forever.”

Mr Thompson said he would be happy to support a smaller-scale development by the club.

“Yes, the Accies need a clubhouse and yes, we want to keep the Accies in the area – they have been good for Stockbridge over the years,” he said.

“What we are not happy with is what started off as a sports project has turned into a major commercial development. We would like to see a clubhouse with bar and dining facilities and decent changing rooms.”

Raeburn Place Foundation declined to comment in detail about the residents’ concerns but a spokeswoman said the primary focus of the proposals was on developing the ground as a sports facility.

And she claimed there were many people in the area who backed the plans.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com