East Lothian butcher lodges plans for solar-powered factory at former greyhound stadium

A family butchers firm has lodged plans for a solar-powered factory on industrial land which was previously set aside for a greyhound stadium.

By Marie Sharp
Friday, 14th January 2022, 4:45 pm
Development of the stadium stalled after a steel stand frame was put up.
Development of the stadium stalled after a steel stand frame was put up.

John Gilmour Butchers in East Lothian have applied for planning permission to build the food processing plant at Wallyford which they say will bring 40 new jobs to the area.

The plans reveal a large single story factory with solar panels installed across its sloping roof.

The proposals for the Barbachlaw Farm site come just months after plans for the controversial greyhound racing stadium were officially scrapped – 20 years after they were first put forward.

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The firm behind the stadium, Sirius Sport and Leisure had asked East Lothian Council to release them from their obligation to provide the stadium saying it was no longer viable and transferring the land to John Gilmour Butchers instead.

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Sirius Sports and Leisure director Howard Wallace, who has been the driving force behind the partially built stadium, said that changing attitudes towards greyhound racing in society and among politicians along with the closure of a number of UK stadiums had led to his decision.

He said: “I regret that, against this evolving background, I have not been able to proceed with the stadium any further.

“My company Sirius Sports & Leisure has written off stadium costs of £2.53million in its accounts.”

The butchers firm said it plans to create a new butchery as well as processing facility for a new range of plant-based foods, a deli, and food hall at the site creating 40 new jobs.

Plans for the processing plant were lodged with East Lothian Council planners this week and will now be open for public comments.

Proposals for the greyhound stadium at Wallyford was first put forward in 2001 and finally approved four years later as part of a mixed use development including business and housing.

Development of the stadium stalled after a steel stand frame was put up – with a major housing development subsequently built north-east of the site – and developers saying they needed to build more housing to finance the leisure project.

Over the years the stadium has faced ongoing protests from animal rights activists opposed to greyhound racing with one online petitions against the Wallyford racetrack gathering nearly 13,000 signatures.

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