Change of plan at Shawfair

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Developers behind the Shawfair development are looking to extend part of the site to allow car showrooms and warehouses on land set aside for employment.

The team behind the huge project have asked Midlothian Council to allow an 18-hectare site to be extended from business and industry use to allow showrooms and warehouses on it. They say a lack of offers for the site means that currently it is contributing nothing to potential jobs in the area.

And they argue that widening the use of the land, which sits at the Whitehill Road end of the development, will boost its potential to create work.

Applying for a change of use to allow a wider industrial use of the site, Shawfair LLP said: “It is important to bear in mind that due to the current restriction on the uses on the site, there are currently zero jobs provided (following two years of marketing), therefore it is unlikely that the 2,708 jobs predicted will ever be achieved under the current allocation.”

Developers said they had already had enquiries from firms interested in moving onto the site if the change of use were approved. Among those registering an interest are car dealers John Clark Group, Peter Vardy and Eastern Western Group.

There have also been enquiries from builders merchants and self-storage firms.

Developers said that losing the hard-to-market 18-hectare site from Shawfair’s overall employment land would not be detrimental to overall land supply. And they say it might even make the site more appealing to employers.

They said: “There has been no interest to date from class 4 and 5 occupiers but we are of the view that if infrastructure is provided by the interested class 6 operators then this location may become more attractive to industrial and business operators.”

The application to change the site’s restrictions is being considered by planning officers.