Portobello High Street: Former bank to be turned into fish and chip shop

A high street bank in Edinburgh that has been empty for almost two years is set to re-open as a fish and chip shop.

Plans to change the former TSB premises on Portobello High Street into a restaurant and take away have been approved by councillors. The applicant, Alberto Iaconelli, lodged the planning application last year to convert the bank, which closed its doors in May 2020 as part of a wave of branch closures across the UK.

However not everyone was on board with the proposals put forward by Mr Iaconelli, who already runs a takeaway in Alloa. In total, Edinburgh City Council received 13 objections, with locals complaining Portobello High Street is already overrun with fast food outlets.

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Concerns were also raised about the potential smells that would come from the restaurant’s kitchen. The occupant of the flat above the property said they’d be “very unhappy” if odours “come up through the floors.”

The former TSB bank on Portobello High Street.
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The resident added: “A flat which constantly smells of fried food will be not only be difficult to live in, but very difficult to sell. Portobello is well serviced by many and varied restaurants and takeaways, and already has two fish and chip shops I do not feel there is any need for another.”

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A second objector said: “We already have a fish and chip shop a few doors along. We get the smell from fried food already. As the building is over 100-years-old the smells would seep through and up the building.”

Another commented: “There is no compelling case for increasing the number of hot food take away outlets in Portobello. The situation is unaltered and has worsened during the current Covid-19 period where any additional outlets threaten the viability of the existing businesses.”

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But despite the various negative views, planning officers concluded the proposed development is “compatible with the existing building.”

It will also preserve the character and appearance of the Portobello Conservation Area and have “no adverse impact on neighbouring residential amenity,” they added in a report to councillors.

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Going before the development management sub-committee, councillors raised no concerns and planning permission was granted.