TOURISTS are to holiday in a “boatel” park next to a city secondary after school heads lost their bid to sink the project.

City of Edinburgh councillors rejected plans for the floating visitor accommodation on the Union Canal in May following objections from Boroughmuir High.

Classes began at the new-build premises in February 2018 in a move from its previous accommodation.

Teachers said the waters outside the building would provide learning opportunities and give pupils an “incredible” sense of place.

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Greens councillor Gavin Corbett, the officially-appointed “canal champion”, was amongst those to oppose the boatel plan, saying the school-side mooring would be the wrong place for it.

But the tide has now turned after the Scottish Government found in favour of an appeal lodged by the Edinburgh Boatel company.

The decision, revealed yesterday, sets the course for a five narrowboat set-up, with each suitable for up to four people.

Karen Heywood, assistant chief reporter at the Scottish Government, said school plans to use that part of the canal to launch kayak and canoe lessons may be unsafe and the hotel boats would provide an “attractive frontage” on the waterway.

On concerns about potential anti-social behaviour by holidaymakers, she said that would be “a matter for the police” and, as part of a deal with Scottish Canals, bookings would be made to families and individuals, not groups “that may attract anti-social behaviour”.

Heywood stated: “There are no material considerations which would justify a refusal of planning permission.”

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But Tory Morningside councillor Nick Cook called the decision “disgraceful” and Corbett, who represents Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart, branded it a “very poor decision”. He went on: “I’m very disappointed that the Scottish Government has overturned the council’s refusal of ‘boatels’ beside Boroughmuir High School.”

Corbett added: “The decision to overturn council’s refusal is subject to minor conditions on travel and boat appearance but these don’t really address community and school objections to the boatels.”

The row is the latest in a series of disputes about accommodation and tourism in the capital, with critics claiming the interests of visitors are prioritised ahead of communities – something denied by local agencies.