£120,000 bedsit plan for pub sparks anger

The Good Companions in Oxgangs
The Good Companions in Oxgangs
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PLANS for new “bedsit” accommodation for up to 16 people above a pub have come under fire from community leaders.

The Good Companions in Oxgangs wants to transform an unused function room into bedrooms, and has submitted its proposals to the city council’s planning department.

However, some residents fear the development could lead to noise and disturbance, with tenants hanging around the bar because of the lack of a living space.

Applicant Phil Manrinello, who said the transformation would cost up to £120,000, said: “We want to provide affordable accommodation for single people.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a demand for it.”

For £50 a week, occupants would have use of a shared kitchen and a cleaner, with electricity and gas included.

Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor Jason Rust, who has also formally objected to the application, said: “The fear is that people will be hanging around the pub because there is no social space.

“It’s not going to be a hotel or B&B, these rooms are going to be for the longer term.”

He added that the impact the development could have on nearby residents should be considered before a decision is made.

An environmental assessment found there were “serious concerns” over the impact noise and activities on the ground floor would have on occupants of the bedrooms.

However, Mr Manrinello said the pub had tenants and had not faced any problems in the past.

“The size of the rooms meets regulations so that we don’t actually need a communal room,” he said.

“I think if our plans go ahead it will be better for the area – space that is not being used will be helping out the homelessness problem that will be created by the new regulations set out by the government.

“There are already seven rooms here and there have been no complaints from residents or guests.”

Mr Manrinello, who said he had been approached by a supermarket chain interested in buying the pub, added: “We’re hoping the rooms will support the community and keep the pub going.”

However, Firrhill Community Council has suggested
the move may be solely a money-making venture which does not consider social requirements.

Jim Napier, planning representative, said: “We just don’t think this pub on the outskirts of Edinburgh is the ideal location – you can see from the plans that there would be no social space, the rooms are simply bedsits with a shared kitchen.

“Even if it had living space, we would still have our doubts as to whether it was a suitable location.”