State of the art Shawfair leisure centre approved

A state of the art leisure centre which will create up to 75 full-time jobs has been given the go-ahead by Midlothian councillors.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:41 pm
The new David Lloyd club planned for Shawfair Park has been approved.

The new David Lloyd club planned for Shawfair includes a three badminton-court sports hall, an indoor pool, large state-of-the-art gym and two tennis courts which will be enclosed by giant domes.

Plans lodged with the local authority also outlined outdoor pool and spa facilities, with the indoor floor space of the main building estimated at 2,500 square metres.

The tennis courts will be separate from the main building and sports centre, and under domes designed to let in natural light while protecting players from the elements – one is described as permanent, with the second court seasonal.

Car parking for 245 cars has also been approved at the site in Shawfair Park.

A report to the council’s planning committee recommended the health and leisure centre be granted planning permission in principle, despite acknowledging it did not meet the Midlothian Local Development Plan.

The leisure centre site is on land which is safeguarded for employment and would not meet those needs.

Despite this, officers said there were “compelling material considerations” which gave sufficient weight to the plans to allow a departure from policy.

The report said: “These considerations include: the number ofjobs created, the unique offer of the facilities proposed and their fitwithin the context provided by the site, the potential for connection todistrict heating network, the public transport connections availablewithin the area, and the presumption in favour of sustainabledevelopment provided by Scottish Planning Policy.

“It is hoped that the proposal would elevate the status of Shawfair Park as a location for business investment and act as a catalyst for new further development of business premises.

“The proposal would enhance the amenity of the Shawfair new settlement whilst avoiding negative impacts on the proposed town centre and that of Dalkeith.

“The proposal aligns with the masterplan principles for Shawfair to encourage sustainable, healthy lifestyles within a vibrant community.”

During the virtual planning meeting, Councillor Stephen Curran asked planning officers to discuss the possibility of local schools using the facilities during low peak times with the developer in future meetings.

Planning permission in principle was unanimously approved.