Edinburgh yoga studio to become hotel extension despite neighbour concerns

The accommodation will comprise a one bed and a two bed unit both with self catering facilities
The accommodation will comprise a one bed and a two bed unit both with self catering facilities
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A yoga studio will be converted into a hotel extension despite concerns raised by neighbours over increased noise.

Cairn Hotel in Windsor Street has won planning permission to convert a building into an annexe for self-catering accommodation – despite two councillors complaining that holiday-makers would make too much noise when wheeling their luggage on the setted Montgomery Street Lane.

Change of use from two existing lock ups and a meditation/yoga centre to form annex hotel accommodation to 10-18 Windsor St.

Change of use from two existing lock ups and a meditation/yoga centre to form annex hotel accommodation to 10-18 Windsor St.

The yoga business is set to be replaced by a one-bedroom self-catering apartment and a two-bedroom self-catering apartment above – which will be adjoined to the hotel.

The developers will carry out “relatively minor” alterations to the fabric of the existing building and believe the proposals are “sympathetic to the form of the building”.

The Cairn Hotel currently has 52 rooms and suites, including private apartments – catering for families and couples.

The council received objections from residents who complained about noise and antisocial behaviour from hotel guests and were worried that the annexe could “further exacerbate the situation”.

Two councillors called for the plans to be rejected, but the development management sub-committee voted in favour of the overhaul. Planners received 34 letters of objection and no supporting correspondence.

Cllr Chas Booth spoke out, believing that hotel guests are likely to cause more disturbance to neighbours than those taking part in yoga.

He said: “Yoga is by definition a peaceful, low impact activity.

“We know the impact of potential short-term lets or self catering accommodation and the impact they can have, particularly on neighbours.

“I think we need to take the concerns of residents on board. I don’t feel that this is an appropriate development in a residential area.”

Guests will be encouraged to enter the accommodation through the main hotel in order to keep out of Montgomery Street Lane.

Planning officers said: “A lot of the objections have been concerned about the loss of the yoga centre but there are no planning policies which protect such uses. Some of the comments have referred to the existing hotel use and antisocial behaviour that occurs from the guests. That isn’t a planning consideration in this 
case.

“Given the commercial nature of the lane, residential use isn’t deemed to be appropriate in this lane. Within that tenement there could be a couple of HMOs, there could be students living there, coming and going at all times of the day and night.

“The intention is that people will actually go through the hotel to pick up the keys. Rather than people taking their suitcases along the setted lane, it’s more likely they will enter through the hotel area.

“Hopefully there won’t be as much disturbance as people perhaps would think. It’s unlikely there will be much disturbance to neighbours. Personally, I think the grounds for refusal would be quite weak on that basis.”

Cllr Alex Staniforth urged the plans to be turned down because he believed the extra guests would cause noise disturbance for local residents.

He said: “People may come and go from accommodation at any time – people may arrive at 3am to get to their accommodation. No-one is likely to be going to a yoga centre at 3am.

“The main concern with regard to noise would be people wheeling their suitcases up those setted streets.”

Councillors voted nine to two in favour of the plans.

newsen@edinburghnews.com