Landlord blames Edinburgh 'sex sauna' for plan to convert A-list properties into short term lets

An Edinburgh landlord says he has no choice but to convert two A-listed properties into short term lets - over fears the neighbouring ‘sex sauna’ would put off potential home buyers.

By Joseph Anderson
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:56 pm
London Street Sauna
London Street Sauna

Ali Murtaza, of Wilton Road, has applied to Edinburgh City Council planners for permission to turn the ground floor and basement of 39 London Street into eight apartments for use as short term holiday accommodation.

The ground floor was previously a funeral parlour, and the partition walls in the ‘coffin room’ are set to be demolished to create a single apartment with a kitchen. The basement, on the other hand, is described as ‘derelict’.

In an attempt to justify the conversion of the two potential homes into short term lets, something the council is keen to crackdown on, Mr Murtaza is claiming the properties could not be sold as family homes due to their proximity to a sex sauna.

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The property shares a wall with London Street Sauna, one of the many saunas that operate within the city.

The capital’s police and council have historically turned a blind eye to Edinburgh’s network of saunas, on the assumption that sex workers will be safer within these establishments rather than on the street.

A design statement, submitted on behalf of Mr Murtaza by Trinity Crescent-based architects One Foot Square, reads: “The funeral parlour business has been redundant for some ten years now and the property has fallen into a state of disrepair and dilapidation.

“The property is accessed via a main door off London Street which exclusively serves the ground floor.

“It is considered the property would not easily suit conversion to a family home as it is situated next door to the London Street Sauna at number 41 which may put off potential buyers. It also doesn’t have direct access to the rear garden.

“The property is, however, adjacent to Broughton Street with its cafes, bars and restaurants and within walking distance of the city centre making it an ideal location and base for people visiting the city.”

So far, the two applications, as the ground floor and basement properties are considered to be separate proposals, have attracted eight public comments each - all of them objecting to the plans.

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