GREENS VOW TO JOIN FORCES WITH EDINBURGH RESIDENTS TO FIGHT NEW TESCO

Green Lothians MSPs Robin Harper and Mark Ballard are to join forces with local residents and campaigners to support South Edinburgh local shops and fight against Tesco’s attempt to monopolise the retail market in the area.

Planning permission for a new Tesco store at 62B Colinton Rd, Craiglockhart has recently been granted, even though traders near the newly-opened Holy Cross Tesco are already reporting difficulties. There are question marks over the granting of consent because the application was originally for four small shops – it is now for one small shop and one large one, a Tesco. There are already two Tescos in the Colinton Rd area.

Mr Harper will be canvassing opinion amongst local traders and a details of a public meeting will be announced shortly. Greens aim to capitalise on their previous success in helping stop an application from Asda for a new store in Portobello.

Mr Harper said, “Since Tesco opened at Holy Corner, local shopkeepers have contacted my office expressing their concern at the impact this latest supermarket opening has had on their business – indeed one newsagent is on the point of closure already. Further, it is clearly unacceptable for councillors to have undermined the spirit of the planning system by failing to inform the public of changes to the plans. The public need to have more influence in local decisions, not less.

“The shops at “Happy Valley” will be decimated if this plan goes ahead, as they’ll be squeezed in between Tesco at Colinton Mains and this new Express, which in turn is within walking distance of the Holy Corner branch. I’m going to be canvassing local traders to assess local opinion on what can and should be done to stop this latest threat.”

The controversial opening of the Tesco Express at Holy Corner has led concerned local residents to form the “Keep Bruntsfield Vibrant” campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the issues and highlighting the threat to local shops. Local residents have vowed to campaign against this latest threat.

Craiglockhart resident Jenny MacKenzie said, “Local people fought against the development on Meggetland, and also against the erection of a giant billboard on Colinton Road. Now we’re faced with a supermarket, in an area which already has Tesco, Asda, and a local parade of shops. A third Tesco within three kilometres will see our small local shops really struggle to stay open.”

Local father of two, Ben Murray said, “It’s hard to believe that the Council don’t have to let local people know of a change of planning permission of this scale. The Council may feel this is a minor amendment, but the number of vehicles stopping on Colinton Rd when customers pop in to this branch will be anything but minor. The congestion, when the new six storey flats on Meggetland are occupied, topped with Tesco traffic, is going to be horrendous. We moved here because we wanted to live in a quieter area, with cleaner air for my two young children. I’ll certainly be campaigning against this as it is a step too far.”

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