Overturn Edinburgh Council's decision to refuse the Alhambra Bar an outside seated area

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I have been the landlord of the Alhambra for 20 years. It’s a community pub, an old fashioned boozer In Leith Walk.  It's what’s known as a 'wet led' pub, i.e. it sells only drinks, not food.  COVID-19 has had a massive Impact on everyone’s lives.As you’ll be aware, pubs have been closed  since March, and have suffered.Indeed It has been forecast that Edinburgh will be one of the worst hit places, because of the fall in tourism.The hospitality sector has taken a serious blow. With the recent news that pubs can reopen, there was hope. I know that with social distancing we will have to change and move with the times.  When it was announced that pubs in Scotland could reopen with restrictions we were prepared to adapt.



The Government and City of Edinburgh Council have produced guidance for the relaxation of rules on seating outside, with pubs being forced to trade with a reduced capacity. I was encouraged during communication with Edinburgh council to apply for an occasional licence and a permit for tables and chairs outside the Alhambra. I started this process many weeks ago, and both the occasional licence and the application were submitted.



On Friday evening I was Informed that I was being refused my outside licence because of Edinburgh Trams. I must add the area I had applied for was In Lorne Street and not Leith Walk and with barriers proposed met the criteria.The same trams that have previous ripped up a community, caused general havoc and disruption and Indeed a project that has been met with severe opposition.Having been In the Alhambra for 20 years I was there at the first phase of the trams and the mess that was left behind. The opposition and resentment to the project Is very strong In the surrounding area.



I cannot trade without an outside area due to current restrictions. A proud local pub that has been trading since 1910 may be forced to close the doors and shout last orders for a final time.However Leith was built on resilience and perseverance, and this Is one fight I won’t give up on. I am In the process of legally challenging this outrageous discussion. Rest assured I won't go away and look forward to learning the reasons behind my licence being refused.



Douglas Gillespie