A HOLIDAY let owner, who was refused permission to keep operating because he submitted scanned copies of statements instead of the originals, has lost his appeal.

William Pearson asked Scottish Ministers to intervene after East Lothian Council rejected his bid for his North Berwick property to be recognised as a short-term holiday home because, they said, he could not prove it had been operating for more than 10 years.

He accused the council’s planners of acting "unfairly and unreasonably" after they refused to accept scans of supporting statements.

But the Scottish Government Reporter has ruled that, while the format of the statements was not relevant, Mr Pearson had not produced evidence to prove that the flat on Nungate Road had been used continuously as a holiday home.

And he said that the supporting statements did not prove the flat had been established as a holiday home for the length of time needed to establish it.

READ MORE: Holiday let owner calls council ‘unfair, unreasonable’

He said: “It appears likely from the evidence that the current intensity of use comprises a change of use.

“But even assuming that that is correct, it cannot be assumed, in the absence of evidence such as letting records, that the intensity of use at present has subsisted since 2006 or otherwise for a period in excess of 10 years.”

Council officers refused to issue a certificate of lawfulness for the flat, which can be given if it has been operating for 10 years or more, after saying it required sworn statements as evidence.

However, Mr Pearson argued that a sworn statement was not some "magic" form.

The Reporter rejected his appeal and argument that the council had wrongly rejected evidence because it was scanned, saying “the form of this evidence is less significant than its substance”.

He said: “One of the two letters from the current letting agency advises that ‘to the best of our knowledge or belief, the flat has been continuously used as a short-term holiday let since 2006’. However, the owner of that agency only acquired the business in 2016.

“The owner does not explain how she reaches that knowledge or belief, either by reference to documents from the business (or its predecessor) that support that view or indeed by the producing of such documents for use in this appeal. It is indicated that any such documents no longer exist.”