Rejected retail unit proposal to be appealed

An artist's impression of the planned Home Bargains store in Dalkeith.
An artist's impression of the planned Home Bargains store in Dalkeith.

The developer behind plans to open a new Home Bargains store in Dalkeith has vowed to appeal after its proposal was knocked back.

Midlothian Council’s planning committee took officers’ advice to dismiss the application for Home Bargains on vacant land to the south east of the Tesco petrol station at Hardengreen.

Councillors raised various concerns at last week’s committee meeting, including that granting permission could have an adverse impact on Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith town centres.

London and Scottish Investments, which owns the site, has confirmed that it plans to appeal the decision to refuse permission for the £2m development

Bryan Wilson, development director of London and Scottish Investments, said: “We are very disappointed by this decision, having worked extremely hard with the council’s planning officers to achieve a positive outcome.

“We will now be lodging an appeal with the Scottish Government as quickly as possible. We respect the planners’ views, but we fundamentally disagree with their decision in this case.”

Reacting to councillors’ comments welcoming such a proposal in a town centre, Mr Wilson added: “Our appeal will be based on the fact that there is no alternative site, of a suitable size and with the necessary car parking, that could accommodate a Home Bargains store on Dalkeith High Street.

“That makes the site beside the Tesco superstore an ideal location, and, in the process, turns a local eyesore and target for fly tipping into a community asset.”

Mr Wilson said that the Home Bargains development would create around 40 long-term retail jobs, and a further 20 construction jobs during the building as well as adding value to the local economy.

He said the appeal to the Scottish Government’s planning reporters unit will be lodged this week, with a decision expected in three months.

Councillors united against the retail unit proposals at the planning meeting.

Cllr Derek Milligan (Lab) said: “We need to be fighting to make sure that any investments such as this are made in our town centres, not outwith them.”

Cllr Lisa Beattie (SNP) said: “There is a great concern at the loss of green space, which makes communities have the sense of being able to breathe.”

Cllr Ian Baxter (Greens) said: “If we are to go against the Local Plan in any way there has to be strong reasons, and there are none here.”