New Midlothian Aldi store approved after local community support


People power saw Aldi give the go-ahead for a new store in Straiton despite objections from competitors.

Midlothian planners were to refuse planning permission for the new store which will sit opposite Asda and Ikea after ruling it was on greenbelt land.

However, local elected officials said they received dozens of emails supporting the discount brand’s arrival in their community.

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And they rejected advice from planners to greenlight the new store.

In a virtual meeting of the council’s planning committee, local ward members dismissed the description of the new store site as “countryside”.

Councilor Pauline Winchester, who called the bid, said: ‘The fact that the planning called it campaigning is not entirely true. It’s exactly opposite Asda and Straiton is just a few hundreds of meters.

“With the advent of the high cost of fuel, the possibility of Edinburgh having a congestion charge, it all needs to be discussed by all of us.”

Councilor Winchester said she received 15 emails supporting the new store and none against.

Ward Councilor Peter Smaill added: “I think it’s about increasing competition in Straiton. The land itself has no particular landscape value, so on the balance of public benefits I think that the case is for it to be approved.”

And Councilor Kelly Parry, also representing the Loanhead ward, said: ‘I’ve had at least 21 emails over the past few days as I’m sure many members have.

Planning adviser Peter Arnsdorf said regardless of how the site felt classed as countryside in the local authority’s local development plan.

And he said downtown policies required officers to consider whether the new store might be better placed in the downtown area itself or at nearby vacant sites.

Roslin and Bilston Community Council and Damhead Community Council both objected to the Aldi store, saying it was on the wrong side of the A701 and should be on the same side as Straiton Retail Park, while raising concerns concerns about access to the new store.

And bosses at Straiton Retail Park objected, saying there was no need to give additional retail land.

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Planning manager Councilor Russell Imrie also expressed concern over clearance of the store across the A701 from the retail park and the creation of a new retail corridor at the detail on the greenbelt.

However, Gorebridge Councilor Ellen Scott told the committee she would be delighted if stores like Aldi came to her area, appealing to retailers to consider her area in the future.

The committee unanimously decided to approve the building permit for the new Aldi store.

An Aldi spokesman said: ‘We are very pleased with the decision and would particularly like to thank the local residents who have been so supportive of the bid and our proposals to come to Straiton.

“Following the success of our recently opened store in Dalkeith, we look forward to bringing our award-winning offering to Straiton, further strengthening our presence in Midlothian, whilst creating up to 35 new job opportunities and increasing choice and value for buyers in the area.”


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