Owners of short term holiday lets have blamed Edinburgh ‘party flats’ for a change in rules which saw them ordered to stop operating.
Three flats in a block of six in North Berwick were refused planning permission for a retrospective change of use as holiday homes by East Lothian planners earlier this year.
But a meeting of the council’s Local Review Body next month will hear claims the council’s approach to short term holidaymakers is ‘draconian’.
And their agent will tell councillors the party culture of short stays in the capital is a far cry from those who chose to take a break in North Berwick.
Changes to legislation means operators of short term holiday properties now need to apply for a licence which often requires them to have planning permission in place.
East Lothian planners have rejected a number of applications for change of use, particularly where they share communal stairwells with residents properties.
In the case of the three flats in the town’s West Bay Court, it was ruled the holiday guests would have a negative impact on residents in the block.
Planners said they received objections from North Berwick Community Council and local residents to the flats being used for holiday homes.
However in an appeal statement on behalf of Forthview Properties Ltd who operate the flats, their agent says no other residents in the block of flats have complained about their use and produces letters of support.
And they argue the planners’ approach is wrong.
They state: “The change in policy and approach has been brought about by the so-called party flats in Edinburgh where it is common to have many people in a single property visiting the city for stag/hen weekends, major sporting fixtures or concerts and the Edinburgh Festivals/New Year celebrations etc.
“That is a very different pattern of use to a high quality one or two bedroom apartment in a seaside town in East Lothian.”
And they accuse planners of a draconian approach that seems to suggest “all short-term guests are a problem”.
They add: “By taking such a stance, the council is effectively tarring everyone who uses short-term let accommodation with the same brush – surely the exception does not prove the rule and the damaging economic implications of this unilateral approach will have far greater negative impacts than the occasional poor guest.”
The Local Review Body will hear an additional two unconnected appeals against short term let applications which were also refused in and around North Berwick during next month’s meeting.
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