A Lasswade woman has hit out at the council’s local review body after it approved twice rejected plans to turn a building adjoining her property into a restaurant.
The former launderette and then office space on Lasswade High Street has been empty since October 2016.
The application for the change of use of office building to restaurant at 14 High Street, Lasswade was made by Cundall on behalf of Luci’s Restaurant.
Kirsti Thomson (38) believes this is a violation of her family’s privacy at the adjacent property, where they have lived since November 2016.
“Where my property sits is on their boundary line, there is no gap or barrier,” she said.
“When this was knocked back they said it will have an effect on residents.
“Four of the windows look directly on to my bathroom, so customers can see into that.
“I have got two young kids who in the summer are out playing in the garden. I don’t want drunk men walking about there, as they can just walk into my garden.
“I just think it’s a travesty that they can invade someone’s privacy like that.”
Kirsti attacked the local review body’s decision. She said: “The application was knocked back twice because it was meant to have 40 parking spaces. They have put in for eight on the plans, however that was refused by transport. It’s actually seven.
“There is nowhere for customers to park legally.
“Nothing has changed on this application since it was knocked back.
“I was in contact with the planning officers before this was approved and they said it was nowhere near the criteria and wouldn’t be approved. But it has been.”
Louise Toye, director, Luci’s Restaurant and Cocktail bar, said: “Our application was initially submitted on January 25, 2017 then withdrawn to allow time to employ the services of a transport expert. It was then resubmitted August 18, 2017 accompanied with a transport survey demonstrating that the restaurant is a sustainable development.
“On this occasion this application was refused due to the lack of parking in accordance with Midlothian’s suggested recommendations. This would have meant 18 spaces were needed, our restaurant has nine which is 50 per cent of RP20 policy. In accordance to local and national policy the aim is to promote alternative modes of transport i.e public transport, walking and cycling rather than increase demand for parking.
“An application was made for the case to be heard at a local review body hearing, along with an accompanied site visit. The purpose of the Local Review Body is to review a decision on a planning application for certain types of development taken by officers under delegated powers. LRB members are elected council members.
“A site visit was carried out on January 15, before the hearing on the 16th, all interested parties were invited to attend the discussions for and against. It was decided unanimously by the elected members that planning permission should be granted under the condition that evidence was submitted to show how the parking would be managed, ie advising patrons of alternative parking – mainly the public car park behind the restaurant which has 15 spaces along with promotion of alternative modes of transport.
“No concerns were raised in regards to privacy for any neighbouring property as the internal windows are already fitted with full opaque glass, which was seen by all on the site visit prior to the hearing. In addition, the building sits directly opposite the long-standing Laird and Dog.
“We look forward to welcoming our customers in Spring, once our refit has been completed. A public car park can be accessed from the entrance directly opposite The Papermill, and a short 80m walk over the public footpath to Luci’s Restaurant and Cocktail Bar; alternatively there is a frequent bus service which stops right outside the Restaurant. Find us on Facebook for updates on our opening date.”
A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “The planning system in Scotland gives applicants the right of appeal against a refusal of their planning application(s). Where the decision of refusal has been made by planning officers acting under delegated powers, the right of appeal (known as a ‘review’) is to the local review body of councillors appointed to hear such appeals. In conducting its review of an application, the local review body will consider all of the information relevant to the case.”