THE owner of an Airbnb flat has argued that her business has made neighbours more secure, not less, after being refused permission to carry on operating.

Katherine Seale’s application for a change of use of the Musselburgh flat from residential to short-term holiday let was rejected by East Lothian Council planners.

They said that the Airbnb was "incompatible" with the amenity of other residential flats in the block that share a communal entrance and garden.

And planners said that the high turnover of guests at holiday lets changed “the actual and perceived level of security for permanent residents”.

In an appeal to the council’s local review body, Miss Seale, says that she improved security when she took on the flat on Shorthope Street and had, in fact, made it safer.

'Based on conjecture'

She said: “Only since I have been involved in the flat has security improved.

"Before me, there was no security and the garden/communal space was actually highly unsafe.

“[Other residents] had all been living there for years and never made the changes as it was costly and therefore I took care of it, with no cost to them.

“I highly disagree with the security threat my Airbnb guests pose. I believe the statement by the council is highly untrue and based on conjecture.

“There used to be people from the streets come into the garden and use it as their own. This was a security threat for sure.

“Since I took ownership, I cleaned the garden and installed the coded gate to prevent this.

“I argue that the flat is actually more secure now than it was previous, with or without guests coming.”

No objections to Miss Seale’s original application were lodged with the council.

Planners refused permission for the change of use on the ground-floor flat, ruling that it was “incompatible with and harmful to the amenity of other occupants of other flatted properties used as residential dwellings within the residential building”.

The review body will hear the appeal at a meeting next month.