Planners refuse to back housing and supermarket bid

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new housing development and supermarket are set to be thrown out by councillors.

Officials have recommended a planning application for 113 residential units – a mixture of flats and houses – and a 5375 square metre Morrisons in Hutchison Road should be refused.

The recommendations follows a wave of complaints from residents, who have stated an over-saturation of supermarkets in the Chesser area, and an increase in traffic congestion, among their concerns.

However, Alastair Dickie, development director of Ediston Properties, which is behind the proposal, said he was still hopeful the application would be given a “good and fair hearing” when it is considered by councillors this week.

He said: “This is probably the site’s last chance to be developed in the short-term on the basis that it’s been vacant for about ten years.

“The application has been recommended for refusal on the basis of it being retail and housing because the council would like to keep it as a housing site, but it’s a failed housing site. We are proposing something that will regenerate the area. Morrisons have agreed terms with us and are fully supportive of it.

“About 300 jobs will be created for the food store and about another 80 to 90 jobs during the construction phase. The overall investment in the area is around £40 million.”

Of the 113 residential units, 49 would be affordable housing.

The supermarket would have 273 dedicated parking spaces and the housing 119 spaces.

Calum Robb, who lives in Chesser Crescent, was among those to submit an objection.

In his letter, he said: “The flats are four storeys high and will completely block out any light coming into my flat.

“I also object to there being another supermarket built in this area as we already have more than enough.

“The added traffic congestion that this will bring to the area is also a major concern.”

Head of planning, John Bury, said one of the reasons for the application being recommended for refusal was the potential adverse impact on several town and commercial centres.

“Based on the applicant’s own assumptions, there would be an 18 per cent reduction in convenience goods turnover in Gorgie/Dalry, a 16 per cent reduction at Wester Hailes and a 20 per cent reduction at Hermiston Gait,” he said.

“A number of local centres are predicted to see an eight per cent fall but Chesser Avenue, which includes Asda, is expected to suffer a 26 per cent reduction.

“The Sainsbury’s at Westfield is expected to see a fall of more than 50 per cent, whilst the Lidl on Dalry Road would see a loss of 28 per cent.”

He added: “Existing and approved retail development will potentially see supply exceed demand by 30 per cent in the next few years and it cannot be demonstrated that there is a local gap in the market.

“The stated employment and regeneration benefits fail to outweigh planning policy.

“It has not been conclusively demonstrated that housing is not a viable option.”

A decision will be made at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.