Edinburgh hospitality firm's plans refused after residents claimed it was 'hijacking' their property

An Edinburgh hospitality business accused of trying to “hijack” neighbours’ property in the West End as part of its proposals for a new bar and restaurant has had its planning application rejected.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:55 am

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Hickory Food applied to create an archway in the dividing wall between the outside basement areas of the former Cavalry Club restaurant at 22 Coates Crescent and the adjoining residential property at 1 Manor Place.

The residents said the plan was to refurbish all the cellars at the two addresses for outside eating and drinking.

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The corner of Coates Crescent and Manor Place which was at the centre of the planning dispute

There were 45 objections to the proposals and another 33 against the application for listed building consent because the building is A-listed.

Hickory Food told the Evening News last month the title had been unclear around the ownership of the cellar area. Managing director Stephanie Stubbs said: “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 had not received any amendment or fresh application making the changes she described.

Manor Place resident John McGurk said the firm had made a revised application but it was for technical reasons and did not alter the proposals.

He said: “The first application needed to be resubmitted because it was not formulated correctly, not because they suddenly discovered the ownership issue. They were required by the planning department to resubmit it and they did so almost immediately.

“Nothing was unclear about the title deeds because they asked for, and I sent them, a copy of my land register certificate when I discovered what they were planning.

“Unfortunately, when we wrote to Hickory Foods seeking clarification, they failed to reply. Any sensible business would have tried to engage with the residents, not make them angry.

“This firm applied for permission to hijack our cellars but then said they didn’t. Planning laws do not consider ownership rights. Thankfully, Edinburgh planning officials have seen sense and we are very grateful to them."

Mr McGurk added: "The location is now firmly residential compared to when the Cavalry Club got planning consent to move there in 2006. The owners of nearby properties do not want to suffer late night outside drinking and the potential anti-social behaviour within yards of their homes."

The council’s decision notice said the application had been refused because the proposals would “seriously diminish the special architectural character of the basement, reducing its sense of symmetry and unbalancing its contribution to the composition of the building” and it also had “the potential to adversely affect the amenity of nearby residents”.

Hickory Food made clear the refusal of their proposed alterations would not stop the plans for the new bar and restaurant going ahead.

Ms Stubbs said: “We are absolutely proceeding. There is ongoing work in progress with planners on revising our internal layouts.”

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Edinburgh residents fight restaurant bid to 'hijack' their cellars

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