Offender fear as guesthouse switch opposed

Tony Woolley, who lives over the guesthouse, is unhappy with the application. Picture: PHIL WILKINSON
Tony Woolley, who lives over the guesthouse, is unhappy with the application. Picture: PHIL WILKINSON
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PLANS to turn a guesthouse into temporary accommodation for the homeless have come under fire from residents who fear ex-prisoners will end up living there.

Neighbours of Murrayfield Park guesthouse have received letters from the city council informing them of the application, and Tony Woolley, 43, who lives above the property on Corstorphine Road, said
he was worried about who would be living beneath him.

The father-of-two said he did not think it was an appropriate location to situate the shelter as it was close to a school and a care home.

Mr Woolley said: “My understanding is that it could mean anybody living there. It could be ex-prisoners, so in the worst-case scenario there could be murderers, rapists, paedophiles or anyone.”

He added: “I am petrified for the safety of my family.

“When I contacted the council, they said they could offer no guarantee whatsoever that it wouldn’t be people just out of prison. I am really concerned and upset about it.”

Letters were sent informing locals of the proposals and stating that an application had been made to turn the property into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).

However, Mr Woolley, an analyst, said he had contacted his local councillor to raise his concerns about the plan.

He said: “I don’t think that many of the letters were sent out but people have got a right to know what is being proposed. It’s no use waiting until after the licence has been granted. People need to know now so they can raise concerns if they want to.”

Corstorphine/Murrayfield Conservative councillor Jeremy Balfour said he was concerned about the plans for the
guesthouse and was making inquiries with council officials.

He said: “I’m trying to get more information. If there is an HMO application for this property I think it has to be considered very carefully because it is very much a residential area and there are a lot of children going by.

“We would need to know what purpose it was going to be used for and what restrictions there might be on it.”

He said Mr Woolley’s
concerns had to be taken seriously and explored.

“This would be the first place of its kind in the area. We need to see what is going on and whether it would fit into the community.”

A council spokesman confirmed the letters had been sent out to residents.

He said: “An application for a house in multiple occupation licence has been received and will be considered in due course.”

The owner of the property was not available to comment.

STRUCK OFF THE LIST

Mon p10 panel - Gran murdered by HMO resident - Ian Swanson

A HOMELESS hostel which housed the killer of an Edinburgh grandmother was axed from the city council’s list of approved temporary accommodation providers last year.

Kevin Rooney

was placed unsupervised in Wendy Halstead’s B&B in Longstone Road days before raping and murdering 74-year-old Rosina Sutherland in a nearby sheltered housing complex in October 2011. At the time of the murder, Rooney was on bail and had 36 convictions spanning a decade.

In August last year, two occupants at the same property were hospitalised when a man blew up his bedroom aftersniffing cans of gas before lighting a cigarette.