Plan to knock down former Woolies site for new shops and flats

Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. Picture: Contributed
Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. Picture: Contributed
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Much-needed regeneration of a strip of shops in Corstorphine could soon get underway if plans for new shops and flats on the former Woolworths site are approved.

Mactaggart & Mickel Commercial Developments Ltd have submitted proposals for 32 one and two-bedroom apartments on St John’s Road in what the developers say would bring an estimated £10-15 million investment boost to enhance the area.

Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. GCI images

Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. GCI images

Plans include 15,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground level and four townhouses to the rear of the development.

The developers’ vision for the future of the rundown site comes in response to close consultation with the local community.

Director at Mactaggart & Mickel Craig Ormond said the community response to initial plans was very positive.

He added: “It is a very prominent site in Corstorphine and there was a lot of interest from a strong and involved community. The overwhelming majority was in agreement that this site needed redevelopment.

Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. GCI images

Former Woolworths site on 181-195 St John's Road. GCI images

“We listened and took on board many of the comments that were made and have incorporated them in the plans that we are now submitting.

“This site is in one of Edinburgh’s most sought-after locations and we believe that our proposals reflect and respect this. More housing is needed in the area, and all over the city, and we really believe that our development would transform the site, bring a new retail mix and create a destination in an active and thriving community.”

But Lib Dem Cllr Gillian Gloyer said although local opinion had been taken into consideration there were a few concerns she hopes will be addressed. “Mactaggart & Mickel have really tried to take on community concerns which is quite refreshing.

“The site has been shabby for a long time and the residents in general are quite pleased that something will be developed there.

Corner of St. John's Road and Manse Road.' Picture: Neil Hanna

Corner of St. John's Road and Manse Road.' Picture: Neil Hanna

“However, there are still concerns such as the potential narrowing of the pavement where the commercial units will be and increased traffic – which is a serious concern in the area and I am hopeful these points will be addressed.”

Residents were determined to save the trees on Manse Road and the plans confirm they will be kept and managed.

Conservative Cllr Scott Douglas said: “There is a huge appetite in Corstorphine to see the current dilapidated buildings at this site replaced, and these initial drawings look encouraging. Residents will be glad to know that the protected trees are set to remain, but any new development must be in keeping with the character of the area.

“I’d encourage anyone who lives locally and who cares about Corstorphine to make their views heard on this application – with it being such an important site we need to get this right.”