PLANS for a Co-op in Colinton have been rejected by councillors after residents claimed the expanded store could kill off other shops in the village.
Officials had recommended approval of an extension at the premises at Bridge Road, currently used as a newsagent/cafe.
But the city council’s development management sub-committee refused permission after hearing objections about the size and design of the proposed expansion, traffic problems and the effect it could have on other traders.
David Houston, chairman of the newly-formed Colinton Community Council, said the application was one of the most significant in Colinton in the past ten years.
It had attracted 70 residents to attend the first meeting of the community council and a wider consultation in the village had produced 150 responses.
The community council called for the proposal to be rejected.
Ian Gotts, planning convener of the Colinton Amenity Association, told the committee a convenience store on the scale proposed would force other shops out of business and affect the whole centre of the village. He said that out of 26 shop units in Colinton village, most were in non-retail use – restaurants, building societies, hairdressers – and just six were retailers, four of them food shops.
The property at 8 Bridge Road was already the biggest shop in the area.
But he said: “What is proposed is 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.
“Allow this application and you will create impossible trading conditions. This will inevitably lead to the closure of the remaining three food retailers.”
He said if the units were then to be re-occupied, it would be for non-retail purposes and the village would be left with just three shops out of 26 units.
The prospect for the village was one of declining pedestrian footfall and declining trading.
“The vitality and viability of the centre as a whole would be adversely affected,” he said.
The application was rejected on grounds of the “setting, design and massing” of the proposed development.
After the meeting, Mr Gotts said that although a fresh plan could be submitted for the Co-op, he believed it would be a “challenge” for the developers to satisfy the reasons for refusal.
And he said the announcement by Royal Bank of Scotland that it was closing its Colinton branch in November only increased the urgency of ensuring that “what ultimately emerges is in the village’s best interests”.
Tom McDonald, vice-chair of the community council, said the parking layby outside the shop would be inadequate for the larger store and pointed out Bridge Road often had to cope with heavy traffic if there were diversions from the city bypass. He also argued the design was not appropriate for a conservation area, with the Long Steps, part of the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, running next to the shop. “The proposed building is made of very cheap materials and unimaginative design,” he said.
Colinton Conservative councillor Jason Rust said he was delighted the application had been refused.
He said: “Everyone wants to make sure that unit is in use. It’s not in anyone’s interests to have it empty, but the proposal was not suitable for a conservation area and would not have enhanced the village.”