Richard Branson’s hotel ‘has cracked my restaurant’

Owner of family run restaurant says his life's work is 'hanging by a thread'.

Richard Branson’s hotel ‘has cracked my restaurant’ STV

The owner of a family run restaurant in Edinburgh has claimed the construction of Sir Richard Branson’s new hotel has left his life’s work “hanging by a thread”.

Majid Shahfar, who runs Mariachi Restaurant on Victoria Street, is considering legal action against Virgin Hotels, claiming ground work on the next-door multi-million pound project has caused cracks of more than an inch wide to open up across the back of his restaurant. 

He said: “The building is safe, but if nothing is done it could eventually get to the stage where it could potentially be a dangerous building.”

In May 2018 Sir Richard unveiled plans for the first Virgin Hotel outside the USA, creating more than 300 jobs in the capital.

The plans were quickly met with anger from locals worried the complex would reduce light into the next-door Central Library and exacerbate congestion and noise. 

It was expected to open later this year but was pushed back after artefacts from the tenth century were unearthed on the Old Town site. It’s now due to open in 2021.

Following an archaeological excavation, construction work on the billionaire’s new hotel resumed, and that’s when Majid says his problems started.

He said: “It is not fair, I know accidents happen but be reasonable, fix the damage and we can both move on.

“It is my livelihood, I worked all my life and ran a good business and we are just getting on with our business and this happens. It has caused us huge stress.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Hotels told STV News they’d offered Mr Shahfar remedial works to fix the problem as a goodwill gesture, but had been turned down

They added: “The construction work has been undertaken with great care and following best practice to ensure that any disturbance to neighbours and neighbouring properties is minimised as much as possible.

“So far, and despite the offer of a number of meetings and discussions the team has not been presented with any evidence that their construction work at the hotel site has caused these structural issues.

“If anyone does present any such evidence it will be considered fairly and in line with construction industry practice and guidelines.”

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