Karaoke bar remains open despite planning refusal over noise complaints 

Bar Hutte has been running since mid-November but will now be forced to shut following a decision by councillors.

Festive karaoke bar in centre of Edinburgh to remain open despite planning refusal over noise complaints iStock

A festive karaoke bar in the centre of Edinburgh could be forced to shut after councillors refused planning permission over noise concerns.

The ‘Bar Hutte’ in the city’s St James Quarter has been up-and-running since mid-November.

However, it will have to cease operations if an appeal is not upheld following a decision by councillors on Wednesday.

St James Quarter say they are appealing the council’s decision, which was made after multiple noise complaints from residents.

The appeal will be heard in 28 days and the bar say they will continue operating until that time.

The festive village in St James Square, which includes a bar and two karaoke cabins, was given the go-ahead last Christmas with applicants Nuveen hoping to see councillors back the plans again.

However, officials told the planning sub-committee that the council’s environmental protection team recommended refusal after an investigation found noise levels were “in excess” of the local authority’s standards.

The plans for Bar Hutte. (LDRS)

They said that whilst the event last year did not spark noise concerns, the council has received “multiple” complaints from residents living nearby, mainly on the weekends, since the village started up again last month.

Planners suggested that councillors could approve the plans but order the operator not to play amplified music in the huts or bar, however the committee’s Lib Dem convener councillor Hal Osler said it was “one step too far” for the St James Quarter.

Members voted seven to three in favour of refusing planning permission, which means the council will order Bar Hutte to close down.

Conservative councillor Tim Jones, who supported the application, called the decision “a bit harsh.”

Green councillor Chas Booth said after the meeting: “This bar development has already been operating without planning permission for a number of weeks, and has created considerable noise and disruption for local residents.

“I’m glad my fellow committee members agreed with me that this was not appropriate in a location right next to people’s homes, and refused planning permission.

“We should always listen carefully to concerns raised by city centre residents to ensure we get the balance right between the night-time economy and continuing to provide liveable conditions for people who call the city centre home.”

A spokesperson at St James Quarter, said: “We are understandably disappointed with the decision made by the City of Edinburgh Council sub-planning committee despite the Planning Officer’s recommendation for approval. We will be lodging an immediate appeal and plan to continue trading until that is heard in 28 days.   

“We traded very successfully last year without any issues but as a precautionary measure for this year we added additional acoustic protection which was installed with local support.  

“We have always taken the views of our neighbours on board, but as we have not been made aware of any noise complaints, we are understandably surprised by the reaction from some of the planning committee members.” 

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