£13m tourism village gets the green light

A £13 million “tourism village”, which is expected to create up to 300 new jobs, is set to be built after the plans were approved by the Scottish ­Government.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 27th November 2012, 12:00 pm

The Fordel View development by Dalkeith-based Oakridge Property includes a retail centre, visitor centre, hotel, shops, restaurants and cafes.

Councillors in Midlothian gave their backing for the development, to be located at Fordel on the A68 south of Dalkeith, last June.

But the Scottish Government called in the application as the proposals were contrary to the Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan.

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Now the development, located five minutes south of the Edinburgh City Bypass, has been given a green light, with the firm behind the project hoping to complete it within three years.

Backed by former Jenners owner Andrew Douglas Miller, the development will provide a “gateway” village between Edinburgh and the Borders selling luxury products.

Malcolm Cunningham, director of Oakridge Properties, said: “We are very pleased. We thought we had consent a year ago but we’re very happy that the Scottish Government has now given its approval.

“We can now embark on the detailed design work. But with such a large project its likely to be three years before we are ready to open.

“In terms of tourism, this development will be significant for Midlothian and it’s based on a very successful model for destination tourism. A lot of local employment will also be created.”

Councillor Jim Bryant, cabinet member with responsibility for economic development, also welcomed the move. He said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the news that this development can now go ahead.

“This is a significant milestone in nurturing economic recovery for the area. We are confident this is the best location for this tourism village and we look forward to working with developers on this exciting project.”

In the decision letter, Scottish ministers said that the proposals were a “complex case” in which there are “contrasting and conflicting arguments for and against”.

But the letter added it was not in the “public interest” to refuse the plans as “significant weight” should be given to the potential jobs boost and economic benefits.

The letter also acknowledged the “potential benefits to tourism locally and regionally”.