KFC and Starbucks at Hardengreen refusal overturned

Tuesday June 4th 2019

KFC-and-Starbucks-Hardengreen

The site of the restaurants next to the Tesco Petrol station at Hardengreen

Written by Midlothian View editor, Phil Bowen

The Scottish Government reporter has upheld an appeal by the developers of KFC and Starbucks drive through restaurants at Hardengreen. As a consequence planning permission for both restaurants will now be granted.

Back in November Councillors voted by 8 votes to 4 to refuse planning permission for KFC and Starbucks to build drive thru restaurant Read November’s article here.

Councillors had rejected the planning application for two main reasons 1) The impact on the vitality and viability of Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg town centres and 2) The impact of the proposal on Eskbank roundabout.

Once the application was rejected by Midlothian Councils then the developers were able to appeal to the decision to the Scottish Government Reporter.

Yesterday the reporter announced his decision.

In regards to the impact on Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg town centres the Scottish Government Reporter said:

“On my site inspection I observed the vibrancy and quality of Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg town centres. I have also studied in detail the appellant’s qualitative assessment of the impact of the appeal proposal on the two town centres. I note that in Dalkeith around 3.4% of 174 commercial units are vacant; correspondingly in Bonnyrigg 4.2% of 72 units are unoccupied.

In both towns this occupancy rate is better than the national average of 11.2% and the appellant’s ‘healthcheck’ concludes that the towns are in “good” and “reasonable” heath respectively. These findings have not been disputed by the council in its appeal submission. Overall, in qualitative terms, I conclude that both town centres appear healthy and are popular places for residents to shop and enjoy leisure facilities.

Despite some vacant premises both town centres did not appear to me to be significantly struggling to attract trade or to fill vacant town centre units. They are functioning well, taking into account current trends in retailing.”

In response to concerns ove rteh impact on teh A7 Eskbank rouandabout the reporter said:

“The appellant’s transport assessment incorporates the results of a traffic survey and a queue count from November 2015, and includes forecast growth rates for 2019. From this transport assessment I note that it is predicted that, in the morning peak, an additional 92 trips, above the current 826 trips, would use the Tesco access arm of Eskbank roundabout.

“At the evening peak the appeal proposal would augment by 76 the current usage of 1338 trips. The transport assessment assumes that some 50% of the trips to the appeal proposal would be new trips on the road network, a higher percentage than was used in the assessment of the adjacent McDonalds’ facility.

“The council has not responded to these predictions in its appeal submission. In not opposing the proposal the council’s Policy and Road Safety Manager, to the contrary, notes the appellant’s transport assessment modelled the impacts of the appeal proposal on both the private four-arm roundabout within the Tesco site and the five-arm Eskbank roundabout on the A7.

“I conclude, on the basis of the evidence before me, that the proposal would not threaten the safe and effective operation of the Eskbank roundabout and that there are no grounds for me to dismiss the appeal because of road safety.”

Both Eskbank and Newbattle community council and Bonnyrigg and Lasswade community council had opposed the development as well as a significant number of local residents.

The news that the reporter has overturned the decision of local councillors will once again frustrate local residents who feel powerless against the legal might of developers who have a steady track record of overturning such decisions in Midlothian.

You can read the full text of the reporter’s decision HERE, see the first document “Notice of Intention- dated 3 June 2019.”

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