Newtongrange Airbnb owner loses appeal

Monday April 17th 2023


Newtongrange flat is used as an Airbnb but has been refused planning permission.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

An Airbnb owner has lost her appeal to keep operating on a residential street after councillors raised concerns about the potential for ‘rowdy’ guests.

Angela Bardens said she had operated the flat in Beechwood Park, Newtongrange, since 2019 as a holiday let.

But when she applied for a retrospective change of use for the property Midlothian Council planners refused permission after receiving three objections.

An appeal to the council’s Local Review Body, saw concerns raised by members for the residents living in the other three properties in the block.

Councillor Russell Imrie, chair of the review body, said: “I feel very uneasy about the property being given a change of use to what is termed as an Airbnb, it is a detriment to what is predominately residential area.

“Given these are four in a block I would not like to be the person underneath that, in particular if there is a rowdy set of people come for a good knees up weekend. I just think it lends itself to trouble.”

And fellow Councillor Kelly Drummond said: “We don’t always perhaps behave in the way that we would in our own home when we are on holiday, we are up later, a bit more raucous if you like, and I think it would be detrimental to the people surrounding it.”

Objectors said the flat had “constant new ‘neighbours’ from groups of people including hen parties, stag parties and festival workers who frequently come and go during unsociable hours.”

And they told planners the property should “at the very least be only for family bookings and for long term lets instead of different people staying who have zero care or regard for the actual people who live here permanently”.

Planners raised their own concerns about the loss of a family home to short term rentals at a time when housing waiting lists were so high.

In their report rejecting the application they said: “Demand on the Midlothian Council housing waiting list is significant at 4,440 housing applications.

“The change of use of the flatted dwelling to a short term let results in the loss of residential accommodation for permanent residents within Midlothian which also results in an unacceptable impact on local amenity and the character of the area.”

The review body rejected the appeal unanimously.

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