JD Wetherspoon has submitted a new application to build a £1.5m 'super pub' in the Southside after an initial attempt was blocked by council planners.
The plans submitted have no changes to the external footprint of the building and still hopes to achieve a 4000 sq ft trading area split over the ground floor and mezzanines at 50 Nicolson Street.
It is estimated that the opening would create 50 new jobs. The capacity for the pub is yet to be confirmed.
"A huge new pub is a huge new pub, and unwanted"
After objecting to the initial proposal, The Old Town Community Council submitted another objection to the latest plans this week, with the chair Bill Cowan saying “there is no substantial difference in this application, a huge new pub is a huge new pub, and unwanted.”
While 50 Nicolson Street is outside the area The Old Town Community Council monitors, Bill says they strongly object the plans because the Southside area does not have a constituted Community Council.
“There exists no substantial difference between this and the previous application which was correctly refused,” the objection letter states. “Our objections also remain the same.
“The antisocial behaviour that it will certainly generate will most certainly affect the residents and other businesses of the Old Town.
“Nicolson Street itself has residents, and the streets immediately off of it are very residential in nature. The increased level of noise, litter, and late night disturbance that would certainly follow would certainly mean a severe loss of amenity.
He added: “There can be no consideration of need, there already exists an over-provision of pubs in the area and this would be very damaging to the small local pubs nearby. The ones that do provide a service to local residents.”
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) also objected to the initial proposal to 50 Nicolson Street.
Having looked at the new plans, the RCSEd commercial director Scott Mitchell says he still has "serious concerns over the operation of the proposed public house", especially in regards to the area in the plans referred to as the "yard" which is owned by the RCSEd.
RCSEd own office accommodation for 90 staff, 17 postgraduate residences and a 77 bedroom hotel on Hill Place, which is immediately adjacent to the premises seeking change of use.
Mr Mitchell says it is highly likely that the RCSEd will redevelop property at 2- 3 Hill Place to extend Ten Hill Place Hotel from 77 to 125 bedrooms.
"On several documents there is an area referred to as yard which is shown as the delivery route, the proposed outdoor drinking area and smoking solution," he said.
"The applicant seeking change of use has not contacted the RCSEd to seek permission to use our land and I wish to state that the RCSEd position is that no access/deliveries, outdoor smoking or drinking will be allowed on this area of college property.
"Similarly RCSEd will not permit this route to be used for refuse collection.
"In my opinion, should change of use be granted for this premise, all deliveries, collection, outdoor smoking, etc, could only occur on Nicolson Street."
Mr Mitchell adds that while the college does not object to the change of use for the property in question, they do have serious concerns over any party attempting to use their land without their consent.
"Hill Place is a particularly narrow street at the point that the applicant is planning deliveries and uplifts and large deliveries of food and liquor combined with regular refuse and empty glass collection would have a detrimental impact on the street by in effect closing it off during these operations," he said.
The building became the home of La Scala Electric Theatre in 1912. Since the late 1980s, the building has changed from a cinema to a betting office and then to a bingo hall in 1991. permission was refused for a change of use to a licensed venue for live music in1990.
This is the second time the company has applied to convert the current Empire Bingo Hall.
Wetherspoon’s put their first planning application to convert the building located within the Southside Conservation Area in May 2014.
This was refused on November 2014 by City of Edinburgh Council planners because it was deemed the change of use would “lead to an unacceptable increase in noise, odours and disturbance”, adding that this would have a “detrimental effect on the living conditions for nearby residents both above and adjoining the application premises.”
A request for a review was then submitted but the refusal was upheld by City of Edinburgh Council's Local Review Body in February.
Now, a new application has now been made which proposes a change of use to a public house and both internal and external alterations.
When asked what steps the new plans had taken to address the points noted in the planning refusal, a spokesperson for the company said: “We have investigated noise levels within an official report to ensure that levels remain within local limits.
“Filtration technology will be used to ensure odour levels are controlled within local limits.
“Wetherspoons would not intend to play any music.
"We have reduced the amount of works in the basement to create a fantastic scheme.
“We are refurbishing a beautiful building to retain its use for years to come, with a scheme that will promote a strong sense of community in a family friendly pub and restaurant.”