Community angry as store chain appeals site refusal

Tom McDonald of the community council outside the Colinton store. Picture: Greg Macvean
Tom McDonald of the community council outside the Colinton store. Picture: Greg Macvean
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RESIDENTS face a fresh battle to stop a new Co-op store in Colinton after developers announced they were appealing against the refusal of the plan.

The proposed expansion of an existing newsagent/café in Bridge Road to form the new shop was turned down in July after locals claimed it could kill off other shops in the village.

Officials had recommended approval, but councillors refused permission after hearing objections about the size and design of the proposed extension, traffic problems and the effect it could have on other traders.

Now Kilpatrick Property Group Ltd has lodged an appeal in an effort to overturn the decision. In a statement, the company said the proposed ­extension had been designed to be compatible with the character of the existing building.

It added: “The current configuration of the building is not viable as a retail premises. Without the proposed extension, this unit will be vacant and the condition will continue to deteriorate.”

The company said the 240 letters of objection to the store represented a small proportion of the local population and it claimed it had received several direct approaches in support of the proposal.

Both Colinton community council and Colinton Amenity Association put the case against the application at the July meeting.

Tom McDonald, vice-chairman of the community council, said developers had a right to challenge the decision, but he believed the case against the new store remained strong.

The objectors told councillors in July the proposed store would be 223 per cent bigger than the existing shop and more than twice the combined size of all the remaining three food retailers in the village.

They argued such a development would force the closure of the other food retailers nearby, draining the village of vitality.

They also said lack of parking and the likelihood of traffic congestion had not been properly considered.

And they claimed the development was not appropriate in a conservation area, both due to its design and to the fact it overshadowed the Long Steps, a key part of the Robert Louis Stevenson trail.

Mr McDonald said: “We have no reason to think opinions have changed. There is certainly no groundswell of support for the proposal,”

Colinton councillor Jason Rust said it was “extremely disappointing” the application is being appealed following unanimous refusal after a thorough hearing at the council.

“I’d hope the original reasons for refusal on grounds of scale, massing and design are upheld and the appeal is refused. This represents a clear derogation from the conservation status.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com