Update - December 2016

Having received planning consent earlier this year, the developers applied for a Building Warrant in May. The Council requested further information in late August, and revised plans were lodged in early October. Staff shortages within the Council and a heavy workload suggest that the issuing of a Building Warrant may still be some weeks away. Bearing in mind that the developer would then have to go to tender to secure the best balance between price and quality, it is now unlikely that we will see any construction starting until early in the new year. The probability therefore is that it could be into the autumn of 2017 before we have the new Co-op. CAA will continue to monitor progress.

Update — April 2016

It will now be for the Kilpatrick Property Group to agree the final design with the Co-op, secure all the necessary authorisations and tender the contract. Construction is unlikely to start until early Autumn, and handover to the Co-op for fit-out etc is likely to be some time in the first quarter of 2017. The Co-op are not likely to commence trading before the end of March 2017. In the meantime Kilpatricks have agreed to include representatives of CAA and the Community Council in their meeting with the Co-op next June. CAA will of course be carefully monitoring the progress of the development.

Reporter's Decision — January 2016

Frances M McChlery, the Reporter appointed by the Scottish Government, has upheld the appeal by the Kilpatrick Property Group Ltd against the decision by the City of Edinburgh Council to refuse planning permission for their proposed extension to their property at 6-8 Bridge Road, to house a Coop supermarket.  The Scottish Government has stated that this decision is final.  This effectively marks the end of a long campaign by CAA, the wider Colinton community, and its elected representatives against this development.

The Reporter’s decision is a huge disappointment and extremely hard to accept.  Much of planning is subjective and a matter of opinion, particularly in relation to design and appearance, but it is little short of astonishing that a stranger to our fine village can make the ultimate judgement that this proposed development will not only have no adverse impact on the “special character and appearance” of our Conservation Area but  will  actually “preserve or enhance” it.  That is the test set by the Council's planning policy which the Reporter concludes has been met.  This is very hard to understand.

Further, Ms McChlery sets out the planned increase in retail floor space as being from 178m² to 398.4m² but then takes the view that what is proposed represents a “relatively restricted increase in floorspace” so that it would not have a significant adverse effect on the existing local retailing centre.   Yet the existing shop at 6-8 Bridge Road is already the largest in the village and this development will more than double its size.  Indeed it will increase the space used for retail purposes by much more, given that only a proportion of the existing unit is used for shop retail purposes.

Continuing in this vein the Reporter actually states, despite the figures she quotes, that the Coop development will only be a “marginally larger local shop”, and she concludes from this – and other considerations - that the development will not “make any significant difference to the existing traffic conditions on Bridge Road”, a major concern of CAA's and of the local community.

It is not unreasonable to question the quality of this decision.   And the decision reopens the wider question of the acceptability of appeal decisions being taken by unaccountable Scottish Government officials who can overrule the considered decisions of the elected members of the local planning authority.

Ms McChlery's full decision letter can be viewed at link to the application documents on the CEC planning portal . Then select to view the document dated 21-Jan-2016.