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Straiton: Where do they go now?

Peel Holding’s prized Straiton Retail Park has welcomed it’s largest store to date, however the opening of the new Sofaworks store poses a dilemma for the developer, what do they do now that the park is full?

The Peel Centre Straiton, otherwise known as Straiton Retail Park to the majority of shoppers, is proudly celebrating the opening of the doors of their new Sofaworks store. The new anchor tenant of Sofaworks will opened a colossal sofa showroom across from Costa Coffee last weekend (Saturday 10 May), marking the end of 35 weeks of construction work in Midlothian’s sole retail park.

Construction of the 30,000 sq.ft ‘Gateway Unit’ commenced in October last year after CSL Sofas, later to become Sofaworks, let the land from the park’s owners, Peel Holdings. The development came as part of phase three of their development works to improve  the selection of shops and eateries in the park. In addition to the construction of the new unit, Construction Partnerships UK also replaced the facades of the top tier of retail units, to modernise the frontages to match those on the lower tier.

However the completion of this phase of works sees the owner reaching a crucial juncture in their plans. The next stage will see the construction of a new restaurant neighbouring Frankie & Benny’s, which is likely to be a new outlet of Nando’s, going by the image below, and a statement from the company expressing their hopes to open by January 2015:

6:5 Straiton
Map of units and their tenants © Cushman & Wakefield

After this Peel will only have two pieces of land left to develop, one opposite Homebase, is said to be a fashion terrace, and another beside the old Next unit, which is likely to be a department store. However the permission for these stages is running out and they will be forced to spend thousands of pounds, and a lot of time, to reapply should permission lapse in the next two years.

Calls for a cinema have been made repeatedly but this too would require a new planning application and likely more land, which this developer just does not have. The solution for them? Wait two years until Midlothian Council start selling off land in Edinburgh’s greenbelt to developers, as part of the re-routing of the A701. They’ll have plenty of land to build a cinema and hotels, albeit at the price of the city’s Greenbelt. However, this too may end up being lengthy and costly.

So Peel are faced with a major decision, do they expedite their plans and complete the development at Straiton Retail Park, or do they hold back to try and snatch-up some land across the road? Either way, the retail park will shortly be full and new developments at Cameron Toll and Fort Kinnaird could see the retail park fall behind, not to mention the new £850M St James Centre, a mere 5o minutes away by bus.

Anyway, for now eager shoppers can enjoy a spangly new Sofaworks store and look forward a new Matalan, which is expected to open in the next month. For those who like to think ahead, there may even be a Nando’s by the end of the year. Beyond this the future is uncertain, but there’ll be plenty of construction work in Penicuik in the meantime – more on that here.

What would you like to see in the park? What do you think about Midlothian Council’s plans to open up the Greenbelt to developers? Tell us below or email

[Image © Sofaworks]