THE owner of an Airbnb flat who claimed that she had made neighbours safer after taking over a flat in their block has lost her fight to carry on operating.

Katherine Seale pointed to a secure gate she installed at the block of flats in Musselburgh, as well as regular cleaning and gardening at the property which she had introduced, as she applied for a change of use to a holiday let.

But a meeting of East Lothian Council’s local review body rejected her claims by two votes to one, after the majority of members said that the holiday business was "incompatible" with the amenity of residents in the other flats.

No objections were lodged over the application, while Ms Seale produced letters from two neighbours backing the flat’s continued use as a holiday let.

Ms Seale had said that she personally oversaw cleaning and gardening at the property on Shorthope Street, which, she claimed, had in the past had a "smell of dog" in the communal stairs.

She said: “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.”

Councillor Donna Collins, local review body member, pointed out that there had been no objections to the flat’s holiday use and that it was on the first floor, above a shop on Musselburgh High Street.

She said: “I do not think it is going to cause too much of a problem for other residents and, in this case, am mindful to support the application.”

However, colleagues Neil Gilbert and Andy Forrest disagreed, voting against the appeal.

Mr Gilbert said: “It is a straightforward loss of amenity with communal access shared with other residents.

"I also feel if the property was available for long-term rent, it would be more helpful to the local community.”

Mr Forrest said: “I also agree with the impact on amenity.”