Thursday July 23rd 2015
Written by Editor Phil Bowen
Aldi Stores are working in partnership with the Darling family, the owners of Mayshade Garden Centre, to bring a new Aldi foodstore to the current site of the Mayshade Garden Centre at the Bonnyrigg/Eskbank A7 roundabout.
Aldi, who are yet to submit their detailed plans to Midlothian Council, invited local community groups to view their proposals at an informal reception at Mayshade Garden Centre on the evening of Thursday 23 July.
Members of the Aldi development team were on hand to explain the proposals, which were presented on a number of boards, and answer questions.
This year Midlothian Council has approved a Certificate of Lawful Use for the site, for unrestricted class 1 retail use. This means that Aldi could begin trading as soon as the Mayshade Garden Centre closes.
However, Aldi stores are built to a standard design in order to achieve cost efficiencies so Aldi plan to demolish the current garden centre buildings, including the cottages, and then build their new store.
The Certificate of Lawful Use specifically does not confer lawfulness for the erection of any new buildings on the site as this would require prior planning permission from Midlothian Council’s planning authority.
The new building is to be low rise, sympathetically clad in wood and with a footprint not that much greater than the current building. It is to be located in the north west corner of the site where the cottages are currently.
The store is to have 122 car parking spaces, including 6 disabled and 9 parent & child bays. The car park is to be reconfigured, with a significant area of the current yard and car park nearest to the roundabout being landscaped.
Judging by the comments from the invited groups, the additional traffic volume and the car access to and from the site are likely to be among the most contentious issues in the planning process.
The Aldi team presented their plans saying that their traffic proposals, which include widening the entrance, have been agreed with Midlothian Council roads officers. They said that their traffic modelling predicts that 30% of the store traffic would be existing traffic that passes the site currently and that the traffic flow would be such to allow cars to run right into and out of the site.
However, the Midlothian Landscape and Communities Protection Group (MLCP) have seen a memo from the council expressing concerns about the location of the access to the store as it is almost opposite the entrance to the Midlothian Community Hospital and is close to the busy A7 roundabout on which Tesco is also located.
Interestingly the MLCP have also found out that the parties representing the Mayshade Garden Centre have lodged an objection against the CALA Homes plans to build 55 new houses on the land next door, citing increased traffic volumes as an issue.
In terms of timescales, Midlothian View understands that the Mayshade Garden Centre is due to close at the end of August, although no one at the reception could confirm this.
Aldi do not expect their new store to open until 2017, as based on their experience two years are needed to complete the processes for planning, design and build as well as alcohol licensing.
It was unclear what will happen to the site in the intervening two years as the Aldi team are not aware of the Darling family’s intentions for the site. Local residents expressed concerns that as the site would lie empty for so long it would attract trespassers and vandals.
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