New Town Airbnb owner who criticised the council for using short-term lets as a 'political football' told to stop operating

Allan Grant lost his appeal against a planning enforcement notice issued by Edinburgh City Council

Sunday, 17th November 2019, 4:00 pm
An Airbnb operator has been given seven weeks to stop operating in Edinburgh (Photo: Getty)

A short-term let operator in Edinburgh has been given seven weeks to stop operating a flat as an Airbnb after losing a government appeal.

Allan Grant, who ran a flat in 11 Royal Circus in the New Town as an Airbnb, said Edinburgh City Council was using short-term lets as a "soft option and a political football".

Mr Grant had appealed to the Scottish Government's planning reporter after the council served him with an enforcement notice for an unauthorised change of use from residential to short-term let.

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Lockboxes are often an indication of short-term lets

However the reporter, Lorna McCallum, upheld the council's decision on Friday 15 November.

She said: "Short term lets, by their nature, involve guests arriving and leaving on a frequent basis along with their luggage and belongings.

"I consider that guests would be likely to have a greater propensity to create noise later in the evening would and to do so on a more frequent basis than permanent residents.

"Taking into account that the flat can be let on a nightly basis and the number of reviews given, I consider that the potential for noise and disturbance is likely to be greater than if it was occupied by permanent or long term residents.

"In this case any noise and activity associated with guests and service staff would affect the permanent residents of the flats above and below who share the communal internal space."

'High handed approach'

She added that due to the increased noise and disturbance a "material change of use" had occurred.

In her conclusion, Ms McCallum said: "I acknowledge that the visitor accommodation is managed by a professional company and note the appellant’s point that CCTV has been installed. However these matters do not alter my conclusion.

"There is no evidence that planning permission has been obtained for the change of use."

In his appeal letter Mr Grant complained that the enforcement notice had been issued with errors and accused the council of taking a "high handed approach".

He wrote: "The council has taken a high handed approach by bringing this enforcement notice, without due explanation.

"Airbnb hosts are being targeted as a soft option and a political football."

Mr Grant may appeal the decision to the court of session.