Airbnb owner wins appeal over ‘communal entrance’ in 'quiet' community

It was heard that it had been operating for some time with no objections raised by neighbours.

East Lothian Airbnb owner wins appeal over ‘communal entrance’ in ‘quiet’ community LDRS

The owner of a beach flat used as an Airbnb has won her appeal to keep renting it out after councillors pointed out no neighbours had complained.

Karen Skinner was originally refused permission for a change of use for her ground floor property at The Promenade, in Port Seton, East Lothian, because it shares a communal entrance with other flats in the building.

But a meeting of the council’s Local Review Body this week heard that it had been operating for some time with no objections raised by neighbours.

And councillors questioned the type of people who would let the ground floor flat with one pointing out there is little to do in the community.

Councillor Donna Collins told the meeting: “No offence to Port Seton, but there is not much to do there.”

The review body heard from Councillor Jeremy Findlay that a recent survey by area partnerships had estimated there were just 13 short term holiday lets in the Preston, Seton Gosford ward, where Port Seton lies – equating to three percent of all private rentals.

He said: “This is an extremely small number which does not have a major impact on the amenity of residents.”

In her appeal, which will go before the council’s Local Review Body next month, Mrs Skinner pointed out the two bedroom ground floor flat had a private back door leading directly out onto the beach promenade which requests ‘preferred to use’.

However review body chair Councillor Andrew Forrest pointed out the lock key for holidaymakers arriving at the flat was at the main entrance into the communal stairwell.

Planners refused the change of use in June this year after ruling the communal front entrance to the flat would mean a high turnover of people using it and change to amenity of the property for other residents.

They said: “Such a regular turnover of users/occupants would change the nature of comings and goings not only to the application property itself but also within the- communal entrance and hallway of the residential building.

“Most users/occupants of the holiday let would have a degree of luggage or other property to take through the communal entrance which in itself would lead to a level of disturbance and nuisance  not associated with the permanent/long term residential use of the property.

“It is accepted that permanent residents may also make noise but they tend to keep their luggage in their homes and do not move them with the same frequency as regularly changing guests.”

Councillor Collins told the meeting that she would support the appeal and overturn the planning officers decision but warned other holiday let owners not to expect the same decision in the future.

She said: “Each case is considered on its own merit.” The review body granted the change of use by two members to one.

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