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Council shuts down Perth hot tub holiday flat – but is still using it to attract visitors to city

Perth businessman Lee Deans is asking the council to rethink its decision and grant the penthouse property a licence.

Exterior of Knowehead House, Perth, showing flat terraced roof where hot tub is located.
The hot tub is part of the penthouse apartment at Knowehead House, Perth. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson

Council bosses refused a licence for a hot tub holiday flat in Perth – but are still using it to promote the city to potential visitors.

Owner Lee Deans claims Perth and Kinross Council asked to photograph his property so they could showcase it on its Perth City and Towns website.

So he was shocked when council officers refused to give the flat a short-term let licence last year.

And now he is hoping councillors will overturn the decision when they meet to discuss his case on Monday.

The property – Knowehead Penthouse Apartment on the Dundee Road – is still on the Perth City and Towns website, at the top of the ‘Spa breaks and hot tub hideaways’ section.

Lee Deans.
Lee Deans is seeking a licence for his Perth penthouse flat, complete with hot tub. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson.

The accompanying blurb reads: “With breath-taking views across the River Tay to the iconic landmarks of Smeaton’s Bridge and St Matthews Spire, the Knowehead Penthouse Apartment offers a slice of luxury whilst just a 10-minute walk from Perth city centre.

“It boasts a stunning roof terrace, fully equipped kitchen, two decadent king bedrooms, lounge with wood burning stove and dining area.

“Take in the breath taking views from the terrace while you soak in the rooftop hot tub with friends and family.”

But what the website fails to mention is that Perth and Kinross Council refused to grant the accommodation a short-term let licence in July last year.

Perth neighbours protested hot tub noise

Planners said allowing the flat to continue as visitor accommodation would have an unacceptable impact on the character of the area.

Close-up of glass-lined roof terrace at Knowehead Penthouse Apartment in Perth.
The Perth apartment boasts a roof terrace and hot tub. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson

They said any economic benefits would not make up for the loss of residential accommodation.

And they said neighbours needed protected from “increased activity, noise and disruptive behaviour of users”.

The licence application attracted seven objections.

Neighbours complained about noise from the roof terrace, hot tub parties, litter and parking.

Mr Deans appealed against that ruling.

Hot tub on terrace with glass of wine on side
A hot tub is high on many Perth visitors’ wish lists. Image: Shutterstock.

And now the council’s local review body will decide on the flat’s fate on Monday afternoon.

‘Honoured’ to represent Perth

Mr Deans’ family owns and operates a number of holiday lets in Perth, as well as Deans Restaurant in Kinnoull Street.

He points to the property’s position on the Perth City and Towns website in his appeal submission.

And he claims Perth and Kinross Council and the Perth Invest Team asked him to participate because they wanted to showcase the city’s “premium accommodation offering”.

He says he also collaborated with the council on a competition which offered women’s magazine readers the chance to win a three-night stay at the apartment.

Airbnb listing for Knowehead Penthouse Apartment with Rooftop Hot Tub in Perth.
The hot tub helped to make the apartment one of Perth’s most sought-after properties. Image: Airbnb.

“The objective was to elevate the visibility of Perth and Kinross at national level, a goal that surpassed expectations with an impressive 189,000 entries from across the UK,” he said.

“We were honoured to represent Perth in this initiative and play a contributing role in
supporting the local economy.”

Visitor economy important to Perth

Perth City and Towns is described as “the visitor and customer-facing brand for Perth and Kinross Council”.

It was set up to market the region by promoting independent retailers, tourism and food service operators, as well as large scale events, culture and outdoor activities.

The dispute has arisen because of new rules on short-term lets, which mean owners have to apply for licences, even if they have been operating for some time.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “We are aware this case will go to appeal and we will await the outcome before making any decisions.”