Edinburgh city centre: New takeaway gets go ahead from council despite being refused permission last year
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A former Amplifon hearing aid centre on the West End’s Shandwick Place is now set to be converted to sell fast food, although the new operator is not yet known. It follows a change to planning rules which allows developers to get around an “out of date” policy designed to protect retail units.
Permission for change of use of the unit was refused in September last year because officials said it would result in “50 per cent of non-shop uses within the block,” adding this would undermine the “retailing function of the city centre retail core”. However the applicants argued the street “has not been a core retail street for many years”.
In an appeal to the council, Pritchett Planning said, on behalf of applicants Santorinia Investments, that the retail policy – put in place to ensure the city centre remains a shopping destination and does not become overrun by restaurants and other uses – was “no longer fit for purpose” and “out of date”. They argued the retail environment on Shandwick Place “simply no longer exists”.
They wrote: “There have been material changes in circumstances regarding the functioning of the street which is now a through route for public transport. It has not been a core retail street for many years, if it ever was.”
However, as the appeal went before the council’s Local Review Body (LRB) – which was held following a site visit by members to inspect the unit – it emerged that a change to planning laws made since the bid was refused meant it was now considered a permitted development. The change, passed by the Scottish Government at the end of March, allows shops to be converted to hot food takeaways without the council’s approval.
Planning officer Gina Bellhouse told councillors at the LRB meeting on Wednesday: “The effect of the change results in a change of use of the premises in question now being permitted development and not requiring planning permission.” However, she added consent would still have to be given for a proposed flue at the building’s rear, which councillors approved and included a condition to ensure it would not cause noise disturbances.