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Two months ago we reported on plans by Waitrose to build a 22,000 sq ft. supermarket, café and multi-storey car park in Corstorphine, West Edinburgh.

Town centres throughout Scotland have fought to have an upmarket Waitrose store sited in their area, so the news seemed a wholeheartedly welcome arrival for Corstorphine residents…

Now doubts have arisen and indeed the plans could be stalled pending an economic impact assessment on the effects on local businesses.

The store, sited in the middle of a Conservation Area, will replace seven shops on the corner of St John’s Road and Manse Road.

It is a major development as our picture, taken from the Waitrose website, shows, and will have a substantially larger footprint than the current units.

The seven existing shop units are going to be demolished. All seven units are currently in use.

One of the businesses - a thriving cafe and cheesecake shop - is trying to find suitable premises nearby but is finding this difficult. The site is also home to the local Community Centre, whose building burnt down a year ago.

The business tenants being displaced have only been given short term lets over the last few years as the owner has been keen to sell.

Says Helen Crowley of the Corstorphine Residents Action and Information Group. (CRAIG), “Because of this, we lost decent businesses from the block and it may have put off other businesses who needed more security.”

A proposal of Application Notice was submitted by Realis Estates on November 5 to the City of Edinburgh Council and Realis has twelve weeks before it can put in a full Planning Application (the point at which the public can submit objections).

During this twelve week period Realis must hold a public consultation event. This will be on Wednesday 10th December at Corstorphine Library and will be advertised in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Waitrose itself organised public exhibitions at St Ninian’s Church Hall in early September. The exhibitions enabled residents to see the proposed plans for the new branch.  It said it would create around 150 new jobs for local people with the John Lewis Partnership. Local charities and good causes will also benefit from a share of £12,000 each year through Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme.

An information website – – was launched and a leaflet about the planned new store was hand-delivered to over 11,000 households across Corstorphine last week. If the application is successful, Corstorphine would become the third Waitrose store in Edinburgh and the eighth in Scotland.

However, this development will be the fifth supermarket in the area, just when the tide has turned against large food store development, plans for new stores are being pulled and when rival Tesco is now planning to close some of its outlets.

Other aspects of the development may cause concern such as pedestrian safety and traffic consequentials. Corstorphine is already choc-a-bloc with traffic lights and traffic movement through this area can be slow. The long-awaited start-up of the tram service between the airport and the city centre seems to have had little impact on the volume of traffic passing through the centre of this suburb.

CRAIG has now launched a website to monitor the planning application, local residents’ reactions to the proposal and alert them to the deadline for reactions and objections.  It aims to keep the page updated with news and information.