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The Straiton Expansion Continues

Straiton Retail Park is once again set to expand as Peel prepare to commence construction of a ‘Gateway Unit’.

It is the first new unit to be built in the park for several years but yet the owner, Peel Holdings, is not holding back.

Featuring 17750 square feet of retail space and a state of the art curved roof, the new gateway unit will certainly not be insignificant. Situated across from the park’s most recent addition, Costa Coffee, the building is the first in a series of new builds to be constructed as part of a radical renovation and expansion programme. With its sweeping roof lines and timber cladding, RGP Architects have designed a building that mimics Midlothian’s lush terrain and topography. Situated over two floors, the unit occupies a currently grassed and wooded area that slopes down towards the A701. Customers coming from the upper tier will enter the shop onto a mezzanine floor before descending 6.3 metres into the main retail floorspace.

It’s new owners, CSL Sofas, will likely move in at the start of next year, should the winter’s weather not alter the construction timeline. Construction itself is yet to begin however the site has been secured hinting that the construction teams may be on site shortly.

It is unknown whether Peel will finish the facade renovations on their upper tier of units at the same time as constructing the ‘gateway unit’ but a recently approved building warrant does suggest that works can finally get underway. Earlier in the year the Midlothian Advertiser reported that the developers also aimed to build another restaurant unit, whose plans have been approved, to the north of Frankie & Bennies before the year’s end, however there have been no sign of any changes to the site yet. Changes are afoot though with Nike (unofficially) announcing that they will be opening a factory store in the former JJB Sports store neighbouring Pets at Home. This move from the multinational retailer was somewhat expected considering a similar move at Craigleith Shopping Park. ‘The Range’ are also due to open at some point in the coming months.

Sainsbury’s on the other hand have lain idle for the past three years, with regards to granted planning permission for an extension to their Straiton Superstore. Now they risk loosing the chance entirely as the permission is set to expire in three month’s time. We reached out to the chain for their comment on the matter and duly so they gave us one:

We’re aware of the timetable on the expiration of the consent and are presently reviewing our options regarding the site. We hope to be in a position to announce our intentions regarding the site in the next couple of months.

So what are their options now? Do they submit urgently for the necessary warrants to commence construction as soon as possible or do they sit and wait for the permission to lapse? If so they are possibly looking at a waste of thousands of pounds, not only for applying for permission but also for having to reapply for permission should they wish to expand in the future. If works started before the year is out, the chain risk alienating customers due to having to both dismantle and move the petrol station whilst simultaneously ripping down the store’s elevations to erect their new modern, glass and timber facade. The extension would be worth it though, with the addition of 40,235 sq. ft of floor space.

The next phase of works at Midlothian’s shopping destination are well and truly underway and with the aim of improving shoppers’ experiences we can only hope that these expansions will further diversify the retail offering within the county, without further maiming Penicuik’s town centre.

We will update this article when we get a comment from Peel, The Range and Nike. Please watch our Facebook & Twitter for updates or bookmark this page.

[Image © All respective owners – Peel Holdings PLC, Sainsbury’s, NIKE & Midlothian Council]