Holiday-lets for 48 people in six flats constitutes material change of use

A change of use from six flats to short-stay visitor accommodation in a mixed-use area of central Edinburgh was found to constitute a material change and an enforcement notice requiring the use to cease was corrected but upheld.

The appeal property was laid out to accommodate at least 48 occupants in a total of 12 bedrooms in the six units. The council pointed out that the premises were advertised as being available to let for 365 days of the year, for short stays. In response to the appellant’s argument that no breach of planning control had occurred, the reporter disagreed. He considered that there was a high level of turnover of occupants at each of the units and at the premises as a whole, exacerbated by a single entrance to the common stairway serving the whole of the premises and used by all occupants. He noted the council had made reference to 13 incidents of noise or anti-social behaviour being reported to the police over a 13-month period at the properties. The reporter concluded that the intensity of occupation suggested by the number of bedspaces, the premises as a whole, and of each unit individually, was significantly different from that which would arise at individual flats occupied by permanent residents. The reporter also accepted that a period of two months was practically sufficient for the use to cease given the short duration of the lettings.

An award of costs against the council was refused even though the reporter found the council had acted unreasonably. He concluded the unreasonable behaviour by virtue of inaccuracies in the enforcement notice and associated plan regarding the exact properties affected had not resulted in the appellant incurring any unnecessary costs.

Reporter: Rob Huntley; Written representations

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