Former John Lewis warehouse at Bonnington set to make way for flats

Lorries outside the former John Lewis depot on Bonnington Road. Picture: Greg Macvean
Lorries outside the former John Lewis depot on Bonnington Road. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A former department store warehouse will be converted into housing after councillors approved planning permission in principle for the site.

John Lewis is set to sell its warehouse site on Bonnington Road Lane to developers after securing the green light from the city council’s development management sub-committee.

The residential properties will mainly consist of flats with “27 colony style units”. Access will be provided from Bonnington Road Lane and Anderson Place.

Up to 220 homes could be built at the development next to the Water of Leith despite concerns over pedestrian safety. The existing warehouse will be demolished to make way for the development, which will include commercial space.

Councillor Chas Booth said: “There aren’t any pedestrian crossings across that street between the Gaelic school and the junction with Pilrig Street. Are we suggesting that they look at the potential for a new pedestrian crossing to allow pedestrians down into Pilrig Park?

“I’m assuming there’s no way we can ask for improved links to Pilrig Park? I think it would be reasonable for the developer to at least investigate the potential to allow the residents to access Pilrig Park.”

Cllr Hal Osler spoke out about her worries over delays to a report over whether noise could impact neighbouring properties.

She said: “I’m quite concerned about the impact on the noise assessment. We are waiting for another noise assessment. How can we grant permission in principle without  a noise assessment?”

Councillors were reassured  that issues raised will be dealt with when detailed plans are brought back at the approval of matters specified (AMS) stage of the planning process.

Addressing calls for developers to pay for a new pedestrian crossing, Cllr Joanna Mowat said: “Surely there’s an issue here because the council has not identified action. It would seem unreasonable to ask one new development to bear that in an area where there has been a lot of development.

“Had we identified that as a required action previously, it would seem that a contribution would be proportionate. I think it would be difficult to demand it from one application.”

Vice-convener of the committee, Cllr Maureen Child, advised councillors to let planning officers do their job.

She said: “I think what we need to do as a committee is to understand that when we say we are concerned about something at the PPP stage, at the AMS stage, we will be equally concerned. When it comes back I would expect, given the discussion that we have had, that planners will be doing their jobs.

“We are in danger sometimes on this committee of doing the job for them.”

Officers will ask developers to investigate introducing links to cycling and pedestrian routes.

A spokeswoman for the John Lewis Partnership said: “The planning permission in principle was granted on September 26, 2018 and we are now looking to sell the site.”