'We hope to keep the continental feel' - Plans lodged to redevelop Portobello beachfront bar and restaurant with double capacity and new two-storey flat above

Plans have been submitted to redevelop a popular Portobello beachfront bar and restaurant while keeping the same “continental” outdoor feel in time for next summer.

Applicant Harem Murdochy wants to knock down and rebuild the Boathouse, on the promenade at King’s Place, into a three-storey building with a new pub and restaurant and two-storey flat above which could be used by staff.

The Boathouse opened in July 2019 and offers a range of cocktails and food and replaced the former Cropley’s Bar.

But in February this year, councillors refused a retrospective planning application for the design of the bar’s open beer terrace because it “adversely affects” the appearance and character of the original building and area and is “detrimental to neighbouring amenity.”

A visualisation of what the new Boathouse bar and restaurant in Portobello might look like.

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Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News on Tuesday, Bob Jefferson, spokesperson for the Boathouse, said the new building would provide space for a range of activities from live music and wedding receptions to comedy nights - including the possibility of using it as a Fringe venue - especially with the closure of the nearby Dalriada bar.

Mr Jefferson said: “It’s a great opportunity and a big project and the building will be sandstone and glass.

“We hope to keep the continental feel that everyone loves. People want to sit outside, and the idea is to have French patio doors that will open out and we can have the whole front and make the most of the outside space.

"The Boathouse has been phenomenally successful and it must be one of the best bar spots around. This is a great opportunity to continue in that vein. The crowd we are getting are people who come to George Street, so it’s not just local people, and we are filling the place every night.”

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Councillors refused retrospective planning permission for the Boathouse in February over its design and impact on neighbouring amenities.

Ambition to open by summer 2021

Mr Jefferson said that, subject to planning, the hope will be to open by spring next year or summer at the latest – and there will be at least a doubling of seating capacity by making full use of the ground floor and basement.

And the owner is confident his application will be successful after working closely with Edinburgh City Council’s pre-planning advice team over the design, to ensure a modern building which will fit in with other recent flat developments along the promenade.

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A planning support document contained in the new application says the building would replace the existing bar and restaurant with a new bar and restaurant and there would be a “dual-storey” flat with four bedrooms and a family room inside.

Another of the design elevations submitted in the new plans.

The statement says the design of the building at the rear and position of balconies, terrace and openings is considerate to the “interaction between occupants of the proposed building and existing neighbouring residents.

It adds: “The proposed design aims to… accommodate the development naturally into the existing landscape and surrounding environment whilst maintaining building lines, sightlines and vistas for neighbouring properties.”

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The latest planning application was validated by Edinburgh City Council’s planning department on September 10.

Noise, flood risk and sunlight and privacy assessments have been carried out on behalf of the applicant and are included in the plans on the council’s planning website.

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