Pollution fears over Corstorphine Waitrose plan

An artist's impression of the new store. Picture: contributed
An artist's impression of the new store. Picture: contributed
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CAMPAIGNERS say plans for a new Waitrose on one of Edinburgh’s most congested roads should be vetoed because of soaring pollution levels.

The retail giant wants to open a multi-million pound store in St John’s Road in Corstorphine, claiming the move would complement ­existing shops and bring new customers to the area.

But opponents of the plan have cited new figures showing St John’s Road is the second most polluted road in Scotland and said a new store would only make things worse.

Data collected by Friends of the Earth reveals levels of nitrogen dioxide have worsened over the past year, taking the street from fourth place in the league table to second, behind only to Hope Street in the ­centre of Glasgow.

Mother-of-two Helen Crowley, 38, of the Corstorphine Waitrose Campaign, which is fighting the new store, said: “I was shocked to learn how bad the pollution is and what damage it can do to our health.

“Surely we should be ­discussing measures to tackle this, not encouraging more traffic, customers and ­delivery vehicles into the area by ­building a destination ­supermarket and car park.

“Edinburgh City Council should not approve developments that will attract more cars and lorries to the area until pollution levels are brought under control.”

She said she was also ­worried about the impact on the local economy.

“Waitrose claims they will boost local economy by attracting businesses to the area,” she said. “However, the proposed development will remove seven existing shop units of reasonable size, reducing the opportunities for businesses to come to the area.”

The plans would see the top of Manse Road turned into a two-way street to allow access to the 140-bay car park.

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said the community was split.

He said: “Some see it as a good thing that might help to regenerate a street that is struggling by bringing new footfall to the area and having 140 parking spaces in the centre of Corstorphine.

“But it is also putting a huge shop into one of the busiest and most congested streets in Edinburgh.”

Waitrose has said St John’s Road is an ideal location and the new store would “widen shopping choice in the area”.