A WEEKEND open air street, food and drinks market in the yard of a Ukrainian Church in Dalmeny Street has been shut down after councillors refused an application to allow it to continue operating.
The Leith venture, held on Saturdays and Sundays, has been running since August last year but an enforcement order was issued in November forcing organisers to apply for planning permission.
Eight councillors voted in agreement with council planners to throw out the proposal on the basis that noise and the smell from cooking food would impact negatively on neighbours.
Billed as Leith’s alternative outdoor weekend destination, visitors enjoyed street food, live music, drinks, art and films in the unused space to the east if the church and next to arts venue Out Of The Blue drill hall.
Greens Councillor Alex Staniforth said at the development management sub-committee yesterday that for the 15 objections to the application, there was 100 in support – several from people who live in Dalmeny Street.
He said: “While it is not the job of planning to weigh support against objections, it has to be a huge consideration when we’re considering community benefit.
“And over 100 letters of support suggests there is strong feeling in the surrounding community that it would be of great benefit.
Council planners recommended the proposal be refused stating that it does not comply with the Local Development Plan.
They said: “The proposal would have a materially detrimental effect on the living conditions of nearby residents.
“There are residential properties located 21 metres from the site and a number of representations have raised concerns about noise and disturbance for nearby residents.
“It is an open plot without any physical structures to prevent noise and odour break-out.”
Organiser Aaron Dennington from Leith said the decision and process has ruined his livelihood. “Before I started the project I asked the council what I needed. They advised me of licences but not planing permission. I used my own savings and it’s been whipped away from underneath me even though I asked the council what I needed in the first place.
“We had a few noise complaints which we addressed – we had no amplified music, only acoustic. We held consultations sessions with the local community and discussed everything.” Aaron encouraged visitors to the venue to pay an entry donation which supported local youth development groups but now feels completely burned by the process.
He added: “It’s disheartening – it was a good community endeavour and I felt everyone was in agreement with it.
“Out of the blue, the council say I need to apply for a retrospective application a week before Christmas and I had to scrabble around to try and get the money. Communication between the council departments is a shambles.”