City council STL planning regime in spotlight - John McLellan

City Council leader Cammy Day at the City ChambersCity Council leader Cammy Day at the City Chambers
City Council leader Cammy Day at the City Chambers
The Fringe may be over for another year, but there is always Edinburgh’s planning system to provide year-round comedy, if only the issues weren’t so serious.

To the surprise of no-one, last week a little planning application with big implications for the future of tourism in Edinburgh was duly chucked out by a clear majority of planning councillors.

This was a Morningside garden outbuilding which was converted to an Airbnb from a home office two years ago and which needed retrospective planning permission.

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Having operated without complaint, there were no objections but a petition of support from 30 neighbours. With the owners living on site to manage potential problems immediately and no chance of it becoming a standalone home, there should have been no problems.

Officers struggled to produce a credible reason for rejection, apart from an assumption it was a veiled attempt to subdivide the property, but it was rejected.

The council has confirmed it expects the new tough approach to short-term lets to reduce the number by 80 per cent, but if this application is anything to go by it’s hard to see any getting through.

There will be an appeal to the Scottish Government, and the decision is a ready-made case study for a forthcoming judicial review of Edinburgh’s planning regime for retrospective short-term let applications.

Sensing danger, city council leader Cammy Day has called for a pause but he should speak to his planning officers first.

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