Work to start on Chesser fruit market retail park

An artist's impression of the completed project
An artist's impression of the completed project
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An abandoned market that has lain derelict for 14 years will finally be redeveloped, with diggers set to move on to the site by the end of the month.

The former fruit market on Chesser Avenue will be turned into new housing and shops in a £38m project that will create a major new retail park for the west of Edinburgh.

RBS, which is leading the £38m development alongside partner Ediston Real Estate, said it had signed the final contracts to begin work on the 8.5 acre Edinburgh West Retail Park.

114 homes and 58,500 square feet of retail space will be built on the site, which has been an eyesore for residents for well over a decade. Developers promise that the scheme will offer long-term job opportunities for locals in one of the five large stores and three kiosks at the park.

The site will also supply badly-needed affordable housing for the area, with 80 of the homes being council units built with public money from the Scottish Futures Trust. The remaining homes for private sale will be two, three and four bedroom semi-detached and detached houses.

Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Home Bargains and Costa Coffee have already signed up to occupy four of the eight units. A 285-space car park will also be built.

Local councillor Gavin Corbett said the community would welcome progress to finally redevelop the site, but added that more housing was needed in the area.

The Green member for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart said: “I’m pleased the Fruitmarket site is now being developed after more than a decade of being derelict and an eyesore.

“It’s a pity that is not earmarked only for housing as there is a desperate need for homes on these kinds of sites, while I cannot really see the case for a retail park.

“However, I know there’s a real appetite in the local community to make something happen so I look forward to the builders beginning the work.”

The project is being financed by BP Pension fund, which will take over operation of the site once construction is completed.

James Rowney, head of real estate asset management Great Britain at RBS said: “These agreements mark a successful conclusion to RBS’s involvement in this project and effectively allow us to bring this prominently situated brown-field site in Edinburgh back to life.

“We are particularly pleased that, working with our partners Ediston, we have been able to bring 114 much-needed new homes to the area, 70 per cent of which are affordable units for rent, and that these will sit alongside a largely pre-let retail park which will deliver employment opportunities to the local community.”