Plan to raze Gorgie supermarket for student accommodation

The Scotmid on Gorgie Road.
The Scotmid on Gorgie Road.
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A SUPERMARKET could be knocked down to make way for student flats and a “shiny new store”.

Scotmid Co-operative is set to put forward plans to demolish its Gorgie Road shop and construct a new supermarket along with student accommodation for around 150 people.

The new store would be environmentally friendly, with CO2 refrigeration cutting the supermarket’s impact on the environment.

If approved, the store and associated Post Office will be closed while the building is knocked down and rebuilt – all staff would be temporarily deployed to other stores.

Maurissa Fergusson, head of property development and facilities at Scotmid, said: “We hope to deliver a scheme that’s complimentary and beneficial to the community.

“We want to make sure the community feels included in what we are doing and we have already held consultations in the area.”

Ms Fergusson believes the additional student population would benefit other Gorgie Road businesses.

She added: “Increasing the student population should bring about more economic growth as they spend a lot of money.

“It would be a great addition, and it will be a fully managed student accommodation with a reception area.”

There are various student flats already in the area, including the Mill House complex, also on Gorgie Road.

If all goes to plan, the student flats could open by July 2020 with the proposals set to be submitted in early summer.

A councillor who represents Gorgie believes the additional student housing would be a boost to local businesses.

Cllr Cathy Fullerton, SNP ward member for Sighthill and Gorgie, is also pleased that the community would not lose the supermarket following the proposed development.

She said: “Personally I think student housing will help the economy of Gorgie and Dalry and I am happy that the Co-op will return after construction.

“Of course all this is dependent on planning.”

Laura Madden, who works at a business on Gorgie Road, said: “People seem to automatically get their backs up over student flats, but hopefully it will stop rental flats that locals need being taken up by students.

“Hopefully the building would look similar to the tenements on either side, as the Co-op is a bit different from the rest of that part of Gorgie Road.”

Another local businessman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We have already got quite a lot of student flats 
down this way and we don’t want to lose more of our character.

“If Scotmid are doing it, then hopefully it will help keep the shop going as it’s really busy and people pop in there all the time. Students tend to spend money so I’m sure some of the other shops along here would be pleased for the extra customers.”

A planning application notice is set to be discussed at next week’s development management sub-committee.

In a report, David Leslie, chief planning officer at the city council, said: “To the north there is a church hall and back gardens for tenements on Wheatfield Place, to the west are the back gardens of four storey traditional tenements in Smithfield Street. To the east, the site adjoins the tenements of Wheatfield Terrace and their associated back greens.”

Edinburgh University Students’ Association president Patrick Kilduff called for talks over the cost of living in the city, warning some academics may be forced to quit their studies because of the expense.