The City Council’s Development Management Subcommittee voted six to four in favor of plans by Lateral City Limited to transform 329 High Street, next to Real Mary King’s Close, and which was once part of City Chambers, in 24 serviced apartments.
These are the plans to transform the City Chambers office in Edinburgh into a holiday resort …
Officers told councilors that the residential use of the building was initially considered, but “in this case it is not appropriate.” The conversion of the classified A building into housing would require “to modify the height of the windows or considerably increase the height of the floors”.
The officers added: “In this case, we are in the heart of the old town which has a large tourist and transient population. It is already a lively district.
“We would resist any further division of the city chambers as it would come to the point where it would undermine the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage site. “
Unlike short-term rented apartments which are unregulated and take away the housing stock in Old Town apartment buildings, the 329 High Street proposals would lead to disused offices becoming fully managed apartments that comply with relevant regulations. of town planning.
Cllr Hal Osler pointed out that six cycle spaces to be provided by the developers are proposed for one public space and will require additional authorization. They can also be used by any member of the public.
The building, which dates from the 18th century, will be transformed into an extension for the Old Town Chambers apartments – with the reception hall relocated to the High Street. Retail, restaurant and bar areas would be set up on the ground floor, mezzanine and basement.
Before the building was closed by the council, it provided the career transition service, through care and aftercare services for communities and families, housed the Leith and
City Center Neighborhood Team and has been used by youth services.
Council reports indicate that an emphyteutic lease “allows the council to retain ownership and control of future use.”
Planning Manager Cllr Neil Gardiner has formally requested approval of the request.
He said: “There is no housing policy in this regard. It would be difficult to convert it into accommodation in that event. I want to move it.
But Cllr Osler wanted the proposals to be rejected by the committee instead.
She said: “I’m extremely uncomfortable because it’s something attached to ourselves that we allow.
“I think there is a negative impact on the surrounding housing.
Cllr Chas Booth also opposed the plans over the provision of bicycle storage.
He added: “I am not convinced that this is in line with our policy on parking bicycles. “