PLANS for an upmarket restaurant and a bank at the West End of Princes Street are set to be rejected amid concerns about a loss of shops from the famous thoroughfare.
Lloyds Banking Group wants to open a flagship branch on the ground floor of the former Gap store at 133 Princes Street, with a restaurant above.
The property has been vacant for three years after Gap relocated to another shop further east on the street. Officials are recommending that councillors on the city’s development management sub-committee reject the Lloyds plan because “the proposed uses would weaken the shopping ambience of the city centre core frontage”.
Earlier proposals for public house and hotel uses at the premises have been dropped.
David Leslie, the council’s acting head of planning, said in a report: “The west end of Princes Street is unlikely to attract major retail outlets in the future given that most companies are establishing flagship stores towards the east end due to the links with Waverley Station and Princes Mall and proximity of large scale car parks.”
He acknowledged the empty shop could have a detrimental impact, but said they key issue was loss of a large retail unit.
He said there had been “some interest” in the property and added: “The overall low retail vacancy rate in the city centre indicates that there is still a high demand for retail units on Princes Street.”