Leith hotel's extension bid falls through following Edinburgh tram payment dispute

A Leith hotel’s bid to construct an extension has fallen through following a dispute between owners and the council over a payment of £55,000 towards the trams.

Structure Street’s GPO Cafe and Rooms was granted planning permission last yr for a two-storey extension to the b-listed constructing, which until the Nineteen Sixties housed Leith’s post office.

Approval was given for the work, which might have added 13 additional rooms to the present 24-room three-star hotel, on the condition that £55,643 of ‘developers contributions’ was paid to the local authority for the brand new tram line to Newhaven, which passes through Structure Street and is ready to open next yr.

Structure Street’s GPO Cafe and Rooms.

Nevertheless, planners said hotel owner Cameron Guest House Group has disputed the figure and the 2 sides have failed to succeed in a legal agreement despite additional time being allowed in an attempt to search out an answer.

The applying returned to the planning sub-committee today (Wednesday) – over a yr after councillors voted in favour of the extension going ahead.

Graham Nelson, solicitor for Edinburgh City Council, said: “From seeing a few of the electronic mail my understanding is that they already had a six month period lapse and it was just once there was an extension from the chief planner for an extra three months that an email was written disputing the sum, saying that we should always apply an easier formula to pay a lesser sum.

“It was then clearly got down to them why the figure was what it was by way of the supplementary guidance and the way it was calculated.

“No further progress has been made by way of moving into the legal agreement on that basis.”

The stalemate left councillors with no other option than to reverse the previous decision and refuse the hotel permission – however the situation left some members baffled.

Jo Mowat, Conservatives, asked: “On what grounds are they saying that they don’t must pay a tram contribution? It’s practically on the tram tracks!”

She added: “I can consider few things which might be going to be a profit more, which is what the reasoning behind the tram contribution is – it’s right next to a stop.”

GPO Cafe and Rooms was approached for comment.


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