Swiss Alps chef forced to stop letting out Edinburgh Castle view home to Airbnb guests over noise complaints

Katie Ogilvy-Wedderburn appealed the council's decision but the Scottish Government has now thrown it out.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:33 pm

A chef will be forced to stop letting out her luxury flat to short term visitors after losing a battle with planners.

Katie Ogilvy-Wedderburn, 35, used a website to rent her three bedroom home in Edinburgh, which overlooks the castle, to up to six people at a time.

Tourists and business travellers were able to use the £400,000 flat while she is working in the Swiss Alps.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

One in ten properties in Edinburgh city centre are on Airbnb, a recent report claimed.
One in ten properties in Edinburgh city centre are on Airbnb, a recent report claimed.

Read More

Read More
Airbnb launches Edinburgh trial of noise detection devices which dispatches 'age...

But council bosses launched a probe before ordering her to stop using the top-floor property in the capital's Grassmarket area for paying visitors.

City of Edinburgh Council said using Airbnb to allow people to stay breached planning laws and should be halted.

They added that letting of the flat had a ‘detrimental’ impact on neighbours because of noise.

In a letter, it said: "This regular turnover of visitors, combined with guests having access to communal areas including a shared landing and staircase, is detrimental to neighbouring residential amenity."

Miss Ogilvy-Wedderburn appealed the council decision to the Scottish Government.

A letter lodged on her behalf states: "No physical alterations requiring planning permission have been made or are proposed to be made to the property to facilitate its use for short term residential letting.

"Therefore she believes there is no breach of planning control."

Appeal thrown out

But her appeal has now been thrown out by the government who upheld the council's original decision to stop her letting out the property.

She has been given eight weeks to cease trading to allow bookings already made for the Christmas and New Year break to be fulfilled.

In a written ruling, government reporter Trudi Craggs said: "Due to the nature and location of the flatted development, the proximity and relationship between the individual flats within the block, in particular the shared access and communal stairs, and the fact that the property is on the top floor, I consider that the use of the property for short stay commercial visitor accommodation does constitute a material change of use which would require planning permission.

"I have carefully considered whether the restrictions on the number of adults and the length of stay are sufficient to mitigate the impact but for the reasons given above, I do not consider that they do.

"Accordingly I conclude that a breach of planning control has taken place.

"Given that it is likely that the property will have bookings over the festive period and into the New Year, I consider that extending the period for compliance to eight weeks is reasonable in these specific circumstances, to allow these bookings to be honoured and others to be cancelled with reasonable notice."

One in ten properties in Edinburgh city centre are on Airbnb, a recent report claimed.

The number of properties listed on the service has doubled to 12,000 since 2016 with concerns that a lack of regulation is exacerbating the housing crisis in the Scottish capital.

Airbnb has amassed millions of rooms worldwide but has also found itself entangled in disputes with authorities from Tokyo to Berlin to San Francisco.