Edinburgh residents fight restaurant bid to 'hijack' their cellars

Angry West End residents have launched a campaign to stop their property being "hijacked" for a new bar and restaurant in one of Edinburgh’s most expensive streets.

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An application for the former Cavalry Club on a corner of Coates Crescent proposes to create an alfresco eating and drinking area by taking over the outside basement area and cellars belonging to the residents of the neighbouring property in Manor Place.

Hickory Foods are seeking permission to make an archway in a mutual wall separating the external basement area of the Manor Place properties from the basement area of the restaurant, which closed in 2020.

The restaurant is on Coates Crescent at the corner with Manor Place.

They also want to replace windows with doors to allow access from the lower floor of the restaurant to the six cellars in Manor Place which the residents say are intended to become drinking and dining alcoves.

Manor Place resident John McGurk said: “How can we have privacy and security in our exterior basement area if the applicant is allowed to knock down the mutual wall and attempt to develop our cellars?

“And how can they use our exterior basement and cellars for commercial purposes when we already use them for our own purposes? The proposals are outrageous and impracticable.

Planning permission does not take account of who owns what and Hickory Foods is clearly taking advantage of this."

A total of 45 objections have been lodged to the application and there are 33 objections to listed building consent because the location is A-listed.

The residents also believe that conditions attached to the original planning consent for a restaurant, when the Cavalry Club opened in 2006, were not met.

They say proposals for disabled access were to be submitted for approval as a condition before the restaurant opened, but there is currently no disabled access and never has been. There are 12 steps down to the new proposed basement development and five steps up to the ground floor.

They say Hickory Foods’ application proposes to use “existing” arrangements for waste disposal and recycling, but that would mean using the Coates Crescent cellars.

Mr McGurk said: “The application states that all cellars are to be refurbished. How can the cellars be used for both for waste and dining? How would waste and recycling be managed?”

And he continued: “The owners of 1 Manor Place do not and will not given their permission for this mutual dividing wall, in its A-Listed setting, to be destroyed.

“We urge members of the planning committee to see sense and refuse this application.”

Properties in Manor Place are worth an average £1,165,000, according to Royal Bank of Scotland research released just before Christmas.

City Centre Labour councillor Karen Doran backed the objectors. She said: "I fully support the residents and the concerns they have raised and I will be objecting to this proposal."

Stephanie Stubbs, of Hickory Foods, claimed they had changed the application and dropped the proposal to take over space belonging to the residents.

She said: “The title was unclear around the ownership of that cellar area. As soon as we were made aware of the ownership we revised our application and resubmitted it. There is no desire to take over ownership of property that doesn't belong to us.”

But the council said it could find no record of an amendment or fresh application making the changes Ms Stubbs described.

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