Sub-committee is common sense free zone - John McLellan

Regular readers will know I find many decisions of Edinburgh Council’s development management sub-committee on a sliding scale between mirth and amazement.
Edinburgh City ChambersEdinburgh City Chambers
Edinburgh City Chambers

With oversight of planning applications, it has been in the front line of the council’s war on short-term lets (STL), regularly finding reasons to reject applications from innocuous operators, and at the amazement end of the scale was a rejection of a retrospective application for a small STL in a converted garden office in Balcarres Street, Morningside.

No children or pets allowed, the owners lived in the house on the site, and there were 30 letters of support and no objections. But officers still concocted spurious reasons to block the application and despite the lack of complaints, councillors agreed it would have “a materially detrimental effect on the living conditions and amenity of nearby residents”. The applicant appealed and lo-and-behold, the Scottish Government reporter this week overturned the decision.

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“Given the small scale of the appeal property, the limitations on its occupation to two adults with no children or pets, and its relatively secluded location, I consider it unlikely that significant noise would be generated,” he found. “Consequently, I believe it unlikely there would be an unacceptable effect on the amenity of local residents”.

This should have been glaringly obvious ─ particularly as this small conversion was not denying anyone a home, as it’s popular to claim ─ but like so many of these decisions it was not based on common sense but skewed political presumptions against people trying to earn a few extra pounds.