The Scottish Government has overturned a decision by Edinburgh City Council to reject plans to moor hotel boats at a canal site in the city.

An appeal was lodged after the council refused permission for the Edinburgh Boatel company to park five narrowboats on the Union Canal next to Boroughmuir High School. 

Council planning officers had recommended that the plans were approved but councillors rejected the move in May.

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It was claimed the hotel boats, which each accommodate four people, would "prevent access to the canal by others, particularly pupils and staff from Boroughmuir High School".

There had been plans to use the canal by a newly formed school canoe group and one councillor claimed it would prevent parents dropping off children at school by boat.

Gavin Corbett, a Green councillor and city canal champion, criticised the latest decision.

Karen Heywood, assistant chief reporter at the Scottish Government, said: "I note that the aspirations of the school towards the canal are supported by the Boroughmuir High School Parent Council, the Scottish Canoe Association and City of Edinburgh Councillor Gavin Corbett, who is the city canal champion.

"I also see that the parent council does not agree that it is difficult or unsafe to launch directly in front of the school."

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She added: "However, with respect, the school and its various supporters in this matter, including the council, are not the canal navigation authority.

"To my mind, it would be extremely foolish to disregard the advice of the official body charged with access and safety on the canal and continue to launch canoes and kayaks into the canal in the area of the appeal site.

"Indeed, I do not consider the school should be encouraged to launch canoes and kayaks in this location."

Mr Corbett, councillor for Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart, said in his Twitter response: "I’m very disappointed that the Scottish Government has overturned the council’s refusal of 'boatels' beside Boroughmuir High School."

He 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."