Dating site boss wins battle with neighbours to install pool at New Town home

AN internet dating multi-millionaire has won a bitter row with neighbours to build a swimming pool at his historic property.

Max Polyakov, inset, wants the indoor pool at his  Belgrave Crescent home. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Max Polyakov, inset, wants the indoor pool at his Belgrave Crescent home. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Max Polyakov, who co-founded dating site Cupid, lodged plans for an indoor swimming pool at his town house in the New Town.

He wants to demolish a conservatory to make way for the pool house at the back of the £1.2 million B-listed house which forms part of the city’s World Heritage Site.

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However, the project provoked an angry reaction from people living nearby who said it would bring down the character of the area.

Max Polyakov. Picture: Esme Allen

Nine neighbours lodged formal objections to the proposed pool house but it has now been given the green light by officials at Edinburgh City Council.

In a letter to council bosses, Jane Thomson said: “In my opinion this building is an unsuitable structure for a garden in what is a unique historic city landscape.

“It would be wrong to destroy a beautifully created garden which has been developed and nurtured over 100 years. The swimming pool building is much larger than the existing garden room and far more intrusive.”

An agent for a couple who live next door to the property at Belgrave Crescent wrote: “There is no precedent for a domestic swimming pool in the New Town or the World Heritage Site.

Max Polyakov. Picture: Esme Allen

“This application is totally out of character for the area as a whole. It is an alien feature, which will set a precedent for others to inevitably follow. In our submission the applications should be refused consent on this ground alone.”

Another neighbour, Andrew Lamont, said: “The proposed swimming pool is out of character for the area. The visual appearance of the exterior of the proposed structure is not in keeping with a conservation area.”

Mr Polyakov’s three-storey home was built in 1874 and designed by renowned Edinburgh architect John Chesser.

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His architects told the council the swimming pool would have “the minimum of impact upon the historic listed building, its gardens and neighbouring properties”.

In a written report, council officials said they had decided the pool house would not have a detrimental effect on the area’s status.

They added: “The proposals would replace the conservatory with a larger structure, however it is still of an acceptable footprint and scale with regard to the size of garden and the character of the area. It is an acceptable replacement for the existing conservatory and will preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

Mr Polyakov, 40, originally from Ukraine, founded Cupid with Scots businessman Bill Dobbie in 2005.