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Agenda item

11 Park Place Aberdeen - 230902

Members, please note that all plans and supporting documents relevant to the review can be viewed online here and by entering the application reference number 230902.


The Local Review Body (LRB) of Aberdeen City Council met on this day to review the decision taken by an appointed officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation for the refusal of the application for the change of use of flat to Short Term Let accommodation (sui generis) with maximum occupancy of 2 people (retrospectively) at 11 Park Place Aberdeen, planning reference 230902. 


Councillor McRae as Chair for the meeting, gave a brief outline of the business to be undertaken, advising that the LRB would be addressed by the Assistant Clerk, Mrs Lynsey McBain with regards to the procedure to be followed and thereafter, by Ms Lucy Greene who would be acting as the Planning Adviser to the Body in the following case under consideration this day.


The Chairperson stated that although the Planning Adviser was employed by the planning authority, she had not been involved in any way with the consideration or determination of the application under review and was present to provide factual information and guidance to the Body only.  He emphasised that the officer would not be asked to express any view on the proposed application.


The Local Review Body was then addressed by Mrs McBain, Assistant Clerk in regard to the procedure to be followed, at which time reference was made to the procedure note circulated with the papers calling the meeting and to more general aspects relating to the procedure.


In relation to the application, the LRB had before it (1) a delegated report by the Appointed Officer, Aberdeen City Council; (2) an application dated 24 July 2023 (3) links to the plans showing the proposal and planning policies referred to in the delegated report; (4) the Notice of Review submitted by the applicant; and (5) letters of representation from the Aberdeen City Council’s Roads Development Management Team, Environmental Health Team and Waste and Recycling Team.


Ms Greene then described the site and outlined the appellant’s proposal.   The application site comprises a 1st floor flat in a 2½ storey granite-built building of residential flats in a residential area. The building had a north facing principal elevation that fronts Park Place. The property was accessed from the side (western gable) of the building via a communal stairwell and the application property shares this solely with one other mainstream residential flat, First Floor Left, whose private doorway was directly opposite that of the application property at the top of the stairwell. The First Floor Left flat was noted as having three bedrooms. The third property, 9 Park Place, is a four bedroom House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) occupies the ground floor level and is accessed via its own door on the principal elevation. There was a shared garden to the rear of the site, which serves all three properties and is accessed via the path at the side of the building. The application property comprised one bedroom, a living room / kitchen and a bathroom.


Ms Greene indicated that the appointed officer’s reasons for refusal outlined in the report of handling was as follows:-


It was considered that the change of use of the property to Short Term Let accommodation would have a significant adverse impact on the amenity of the

occupants of the neighbouring residential flat, First Floor Left, 11 Park Place. This was because the occupants of the neighbouring flat would have to share the communal residential hallway and stairwell solely with frequently changing transient guests and cleaners of the proposed Short Term Let accommodation unit, who would be unknown to them. Taking into account the specific context of the hallway layout, its secluded nature, the multiple landings and that the entrances to each property are directly opposite each other, this would result in a significant adverse impact on the privacy and sense of security, whether actual or perceived, on the occupants of the neighbouring flat, compared to if the application property was in residential use. The proposal would therefore adversely affect the residential amenity of the surrounding area, contrary to the aims of Policy 14 (Design, Quality and Place) of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), and Policies H1 (Residential Areas), D1 (Quality Placemaking) and D2 (Amenity) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2023.  It was recognised in general terms that the location of this Short Term Let accommodation unit would likely have local economic benefits in that it would provide tourist accommodation in close proximity to the city centre, the amenities and businesses of King Street and it is in a location that is accessible via public transportation. However, the specific circumstances of this site and the proposal are such that it would result in an unacceptable impact on the local amenity of the area to a degree that would significantly outweigh any local economic benefit that would arise from the use of the property as a Short Term Let accommodation unit. The proposal was therefore also contrary to the aims of Policy 30 (Tourism) of NPF4.


Ms Greene outlined the key points from the appellant’s Notice of Review as follows:-

·         The application property was small and the Short Term Let was small scale with only two guests with a minimum of two night stay to limit the flow of guests;

·         The use of communal space could be managed;

·         In regards to noise disturbance, short stays for two guests meant that parties were unlikely;

·         There was a benefit for local tourism and the economy by having a provision for visitor accommodation;

·         The Short Term Let had been running successfully since 2019 and was a high quality service;

·         The flat was in a mixed use area with a mosque, bingo hall, car park and housing with easy access to the main areas of the city;

·         Air BNB allowed hosts to vet and review guests which was a benefit for the application; and

·         Guests must sign and follow the house rules contained in the Design Statement. 




In terms of Consultations, Ms Greene advised that the Council’s Roads Team had no objection and the property was in a controlled parking zone and would not increase traffic levels; that the Council’s Environmental Health Team had no observations or objection; that the Waste Management had no objection but provided general information in regards to waste and there was no response received from Castlehill and Pittodrie Community Council. No letters of representation had been received from the neighbouring properties. 


Ms Greene advised that the applicant had expressed the view that no further procedure was required.


The Chairperson and Councillors Farquhar, Lawrence and Radley all indicated in turn that they each had enough information before them and therefore agreed that the review under consideration should be determined without any further procedure.


In terms of relevant policy considerations, Ms Greene referred to the National Planning Framework 4 and the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2023.


Ms Greene responded to questions from members. 


Members each advised in turn and unanimously agreed to overturn the appointed officers previous decision.  Planning permission was therefore granted conditionally. 


In coming to their decision, the Local Review Body had regard to the provisions of the development plan as required by Sections 25 and 37 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) and other material considerations in so far as these were pertinent to the determination of the application.


More specifically, the reasons on which the Local Review Body based this decision were as follows:-

Taking into account the size and location of the flat, it is considered that the short term let use  complies with Policy H1: Residential Areas, as it is complementary to residential use in this instance; there is no evidence of complaints in relation to the short term let use that has taken place over the last approximately four years.


The proposal complies with the Policy 14: Design Quality and Place in National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) as it would provide a welcoming facility for visitors, with the property being managed to help ensure no impact on neighbours.


For the reasons stated above, the proposal also complies with Policy 30: Tourism in NPF4 whereas refusal of the application would result in the loss of a short term let facility which contributes to the local economy.





This permission is granted subject to the following conditions.




The development to which this notice relates must be begun not later than the expiration of 3 years beginning with the date of this notice. If development has not begun at the expiration of the 3-year period, the planning permission lapses.


Reason - in accordance with section 58 (duration of planning permission) of the 1997 act.




The use of the flat for short term let accommodation as hereby approved, shall expire 5  years following the date of the grant of permission as stated on this notice, unless a further  planning permission has been granted for continued use of the property as serviced apartment  accommodation in the meantime. Should no further planning permission be granted then the property shall revert to a flat in residential use after the aforementioned 5-year period.


Reason: In order to allow reassessment of the local housing need and demand situation and the local economic benefits derived from the use of the property as short term let accommodation to be reassessed in 5 years' time, to ensure that the loss of the property as residential accommodation would remain compliant with Policy 30 of NPF4.