Plans for a new Costa Coffee drive-thru as part of a new business park near Sheriffhall roundabout have been approved, despite concerns over litter.

Buccleuch Estate’s proposals for industrial units on 8.5 hectares of greenbelt land have drawn objections from community councils and 16 people concerned about the impact of traffic as well as the loss of green spaces.

And at a virtual meeting of Midlothian’s planning committee this week, councilors debated whether drive-thru was an essential part of the development.

READ MORE: New Edinburgh Costa Drive-Thru to be built near busy Sheriffhall roundabout

However, they were told the site had sat idle for 14 years and warned that without the drive-thru it could remain vacant.

Planning chief Peter Arnsdorf told the committee: “The site is earmarked for economic development use. It has struggled to get off the ground since 2008. The applicant is preparing to speculatively build a type of industrial unit which has, in part, been influenced by the board saying this is what we need.

“They feel that to make this viable they need additional investment, so that’s where the drive-thru from a large retail chain comes from.”

“They suggested that since Covid any store like this needs to have a drive-thru so it doesn’t just depend on store turnover that’s why you have a drive-thru and not just a coffee.”

He added: “I think you might find that if you don’t have the drive-thru component, you might not get the speculative economic units going.”

Councilors had raised concerns about litter from the drive-thru as well as the loss of some trees on the site as part of the overall development.

Councilor Bryan Pottinger asked if it was really necessary to take a coffee break.

He said: “I don’t think it really justifies a need. I can imagine many industrial units will have their own workforce welfare facilities and there seem to be many other options in the neighboring district.”

The proposals, on the site of the Sheriffhall South local development plan in Midlothian, include terraces of 24 commercial units.

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The committee heard that the ancient woodlands surrounding the site would not be affected, but an area of ​​”scrub trees” may be removed as part of the development.

Showcasing plans for the land which is south of the Sheriffhall roundabout close the junction of Gilmerton Road (B6392) and the A7 property Buccleuch said they had bypassed as much wood as possible,

They said: “The layout shows how the proposed development has respected
the existing wooded area that occupies the site, while enhancing
larger landscape.

The committee approved plans for the drive-thru and 24 commercial units alongside 120 parking spaces by 12 votes to three, but assurances were sought that more would be done to ensure the protection of trees on the site.


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