A hotel has won permission to build 22 new rooms after a Scottish Government reporter overturned councillors’ decision to refuse the proposals.
The city council’s development management sub-committee turned down an application for the Lady Nairne Premier Inn in Duddingston for 22 new bedrooms to be built – as well as increasing car parking from 53 to 56 spaces. An initial planning application was refused in April 2018 on grounds of adverse overlooking into neighbouring properties – before updated plans were tabled and also rejected by councillors.
In his decision report, Scottish Government reporter Martin Seddon said “there are no material considerations which would justify refusing to grant planning permission”.
The extension to the hotel on Willowbrae Road, which currently has 50 bedrooms, will be located at the rear of the building in the existing car park.
A local ward councillor, who also sits on the development management sub-committee, has criticised the decision by the reporter to overturn the initial decision.
Green Cllr Alex Staniforth said: “I disagree with the reporter’s decision to go against the sub-committee and local councillors, and ignore the feeling of nearby residents, and grant permission for this hotel extension. We made a reasonable objection on the grounds of residents’ amenity and that no effort had been made to improve disabled access. It is a shame that these legitimate local concerns have been given so little weight.”
Council officers had recommended the plans for approval but councillors went against the advice and turned down the plans in August. In their report to councillors, officers said the plans represented “a minor infringement” of the authority’s planning policies.
The report added: “The proposed scale, form and design of the extension will have neutral impact on the character of the existing building and of the surrounding area. The proposed extension will not have a detrimental impact on neighbouring amenity. There are no material considerations that would outweigh this conclusion. It is recommended that the application be approved.”
Councillors raised concerns over access for disabled people using the hotel, as well as the potential impact on neighbouring properties.
Mr Seddon said: “I find that the proposal has been specifically designed to prevent overlooking and would have no significant detrimental effect on the received light or privacy of neighbouring properties in Meadowfield Avenue when occupants are within their dwellings or gardens.
“The council has raised concerns over the accessibility of the proposed and existing spaces. However, the appellant has provided a transport appeal statement. This includes diagrams which indicate that all the parking spaces for persons with disabilities would be accessible. On that basis I find that the proposal would be acceptable as it would provide an adequate number of accessible parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”
He added: “In view of the relative orientation of the buildings and separation distance I consider that there would be no significant additional loss of light or sunlight from the extension for the neighbouring bungalows.
“The windows would also not allow any significant angled views towards the rear gardens of other bungalows in Meadowfield Avenue.
“Moreover, the internal layout of the proposed bedrooms would not permit anyone within the rooms to easily get close to the windows to be able to look out.”