A popular foodie hotspot in Edinburgh is offering diners a ‘restaurant menu’ despite only being granted permission to operate as a cafe, a community group has complained.
Scran expanded its operations in the North Bridge Arcade last year, converting the basement and ground floor, with the New Town branch advertising a cafe, bistro and bar and offering the ‘best brunch’ of the capital.
A retrospective application for a change of use of the premises at 36 North Bridge has been granted by Edinburgh City Council despite concerns about cooking smells from local residents and an objection from the local Community Council.
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Planners approved change of use from retail to ‘restricted’ restaurant, stipulating basement kitchen could only use microwave, panini maker, soup urn and a toaster for preparing meals.
The plans were met with objection from the Old Town Community Council, which said a recent “menu expansion” suggests the bistro is “moving towards a full restaurant menu”.
Dishes recently announced by Scran New Town on social media include poached eggs, bacon, pancakes and French toast.
The community council added that cooking smells “regularly enter the apartments upstairs”. Additionally, a resident who lives in an apartment above Scran said the menu had evolved “from paninis to hot dishes” since opening, with the dishes now on offer requiring “actual cooking”.
The opponent added that the units had been ‘converted without permission from the locked out retail business’.
“The big issue for residents of this unit, including me, is not noise particularly, although there has been some,” he said, adding that the main concerns were “smells cooking and fire hazards”.
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He pointed out that the app made “no mention” of Scran’s other restaurant at the Cockburn Street end of the Arcade, which he said had a “deplorable effect on the area”.
“I don’t think the board has properly considered that Scran uses all of these units, with three separate postcodes, and the whole Arcade, plus currently a street shack like a colossal restaurant,” he said. he adds.
He said claims it was open as a cafe were ‘a ruse’ and added that he had to repeatedly speak to the bistro’s management about the ‘sound, light and odor pollution’ coming from the premises over the past year.
Scran and the Old Town Community Council have been contacted for comment.