Dalkeith Aldi plans approved
Plans for the much anticipated first Aldi supermarket in Midlothian were approved by the council’s planning committee today (Tuesday).
Councillors disagreed with planning officials’ recommendation to reject the plans to build an Aldi store at Thornybank Industrial Estate. Planners had recommended refusal for reasons including the impact the new store, which it is hoped will open next Autumn, would have on Dalkeith town centre and the loss of half the HS5 site allocated for housing.
Speaking at the planning meeting, Dalkeith Councillor Stephen Curran (Lab)said: “I have never received so many responses to planning application as I have for this one.
“Communities require services, retail being one of them. Public transport being another one and I note the applicant has proposed two bus stops.
“I really don’t see this development being detrimental to our town centre. There is a balance to be struck between building houses and building communities.”
Fellow local councillor Colin Cassidy (SNP) said: “The fly-tipping at that site is a disgrace, so anything that we put in there is going to be an improvement and I think it is a vast improvement to get an Aldi in there.”
Councillor Andrew Hardie (Con) added: “The pandemic has shown that supermarkets are an essential service, as important to our local communities as post offices or doctor’s surgeries or libraries. We need to make sure that the essential infrastructure is there for all our communities.”
Council leader Derek Milligan (Lab) said: “I think it’s an absolute no-brainer and I certainly support it. I do have concerns about the town centre but the sheer number of houses going up well out-dos the number of people going outside the town centre.”
Councillors approved the plans with conditions to improve pedestrian and cycle access to the site.
Aldi announced their plans to build a new store at the Thornybank Industrial Estate earlier this year. The new store represents an investment of around £3.6 million and up to 35 local jobs within the store, together with new jobs during construction and within the Aldi supply chain. A public consultation on the plans resulted in 46 letters of support, with comments welcoming the new jobs that would be created, the increase in shopping choice and the convenience for local residents.