Taco Bell to be refused 'cheese melter' over neighbourhood smell impact

The fast food restaurant has been given the go ahead to open in the former Edinburgh city centre bank - but a row has broken out over kitchen equipment.

New Edinburgh Taco Bell to be refused ‘cheese melter’ over impact of neighbourhood smell LDRS

A new Taco Bell in Edinburgh city centre is set to be refused permission to use a “cheese melter” the council fears could create unwanted smells for neighbours.

The Mexican fast food franchise has been given the go ahead to open its second restaurant in the capital in the old Picardy Place Bank of Scotland – but now owners are at odds with the local authority over what cooking equipment can be used.

Approving plans almost two years ago, officials said they were “acceptable” but demanded cooking operations “shall be restricted to the use of one microwave oven, one panini machine, one soup urn, and one toaster only”.

The condition was added as the applicant “did not propose to use a ventilation system that would expel cooking effluvia to a suitable height,” they added.

Taco Bell has applied to have it removed to allow “a cheese melter, a split lid grill, a flat top grill, a rethermaliser and a fryer” in the kitchen.

It said staff would ensure a recirculation system installed instead of ventilation would operate “at maximum efficiency”.

However the council does not support the move and officials have urged councillors to reject the bid to alter the permission previously granted when they meet to make a decision later this week.

Environmental protection officers “could not support the proposal by virtue of the likely detrimental impact on residential amenity,” they said.

“Specifically, the ventilation system would be unable to achieve a consistent standard without regular maintenance.”

Environmental protection added recirculation systems “do not necessarily operate as efficiently as claimed” and even if maintained well it would not be guaranteed that residential amenity would be “suitably protected”.

The application will be heard by the council’s Development-Management Sub-Committee on Wednesday (November 8) after a councillor requested it be dealt with by elected members rather than planning officials.

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