Traffic fears brake twin drive-thru plan

GV of land sandwiched between the southern perimeter of Tesco Hardengreen (Dalkeith) car park and the A7 which had plans drawn up to have two fast food establishments built at this location
GV of land sandwiched between the southern perimeter of Tesco Hardengreen (Dalkeith) car park and the A7 which had plans drawn up to have two fast food establishments built at this location

Councillors have rejected planning permission for two fast-food outlets in Dalkeith.

Midlothian Council’s planning committee voted 8-4 last week against proposals for drive-thru units for KFC and Starbucks on ground next to the Tesco supermarket at Hardengreen.

Members turned down plans submitted by SC Dalkeith Ltd, of Glasgow, arguing that the twin development would create unacceptable traffic congestion in the area and place extra pressure on existing town centre outlets.

But the developer, London and Scottish Investments, has confirmed it will examine the committee’s decision and consider an appeal.

Councillor Derek Milligan (Lab) told members that he could not support the drive-thru proposals, saying he was “truly baffled” that the committee should be considering the prospect of more vehicles at a junction well-known for traffic congestion.

He cited the McDonald’s drive-thru, currently being created in the Tesco car park, and its effect on vehicles accessing the superstore and petrol station from Hardengreen roundabout.

Councillor Milligan said: “I have to think: Is gridlock just going to happen?”

Councillor Andrew Hardie (Con) doubted that the two drive-thrus would create significant traffic problems, pointing out that the junction at Straiton was a busier area.

He said: “This (plan) is perfectly viable and I don’t think it will detract from our town centres or have an impact on traffic.”

But the committee voted against the planning officers’ recommendation for approval.

Following the meeting, the developer expressed disappointment that the drive-thrus had failed to win planning councillors’ approval.

Bryan Wilson, London and Scottish Investments’ development director, said: “We are very surprised by the rejection of our proposals to replace a derelict site with a £2 million development which would have seen two of the biggest fast-food chains in the world create around 55 secure retail jobs in Dalkeith and provide a long-term boost to the Midlothian economy.

“It is particularly disappointing that the committee rejected expert reports that the development would have no effect on the vitality or viability of local town centres or on road safety and traffic management on the access roads and roundabout.

“We will now study the decision with a view to lodging an appeal.”