Anti-social behaviour at a new cafe is a matter for police not the local authority, planning officers ruled as they gave it the go-ahead this week.
Concerns about plans to convert a newspaper shop, which is surrounded by residential flats, into a cafe and allow it to open until 9pm daily were dismissed by Midlothian Council. The proposed new cafe on Dalkeith High Street had brought objections from residents in the flats around it who were concerned with both smell and noise.
One resident who lives upstairs from the premises said it had been a pet shop, mobility shop, newsagents and printers over the last two decades and this was the first time they had been concerned about it.
But while planning officers did take steps to ensure no cooking smells could affect neighbours by restricting its equipment to those described by the applicant, who said it would have a coffee machine, microwave, panini makers, milkshake mixer and waffle machine, they did not restrict opening hours.
A report by planning officers said: “The council’s environmental health section has recommended that the cafe be shut at 6pm each day.
“However, with the recommended conditions in relation to cooking equipment and noise, disturbance arising from the use of the application property as a cafe between 9am and 9pm should not be significant as compared to the use of the premises as a shop where there is no control over opening hours.
“Any anti-social behaviour arising from the use of the cafe would be a matter for the police.”
The cafe will not be allowed to operate as a takeaway as it falls within Midlothian Council’s 400-metre ban on serving takeaway near a school.
A change of use from the shop to the cafe was approved with a condition that no amplified music should be audible within nearby residential or ‘noise sensitive’ property.