Hotel du Vin has insisted it is going ahead with its £10m plans to open a second property in Edinburgh despite the city's ban on new drinks licences in the area.
The chain, which was recently put on the market by parent company MWB, is planning a 47-bedroom hotel on a site that was originally part of the city's Royal Infirmary hospital.
A report in The Scotsman newspaper suggested the company was ready to ditch the project unless the council exempted it from a ban on new drinks licences in and around the Cowgate and the Grassmarket.
However, chief executive Robert Cook has refuted the claims and insisted the company was working with the council to resolve the licensing issue.
Exemptions to the licensing board's policy have been allowed since it was introduced in 2001, including an upmarket "liquid deli" on Victoria Street, and the new Smart City Hostel, on the Cowgate.
Meanwhile, Cook has been awarded a Doctorate in Business Administration by Robert Gordon University Aberdeen for his achievements in the hotel industry. He graduated from the university 20 years ago.
By Daniel Thomas
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