Objection raised over Pentland plan
St James developer says film studio is ‘retail rival’
Developers behind the St James shopping redevelopment in Edinburgh have objected to a new film studio on the edge of the city, claiming it will become a rival retail destination.
Real estate firm Henderson has lodged a formal objection against the proposed £150 million studio at Straiton, just off the by-pass.
Henderson believes the studio will be only a part of what would become an extension to the Straiton Retail Park and the plans submitted to Midlothian Council include a retail element. The agent for the scheme, GVA Grimley, says the masterplan shows that more than half a million sq ft of new retail space could be created.
It believes it will undermine its own £850m project at the eastern end of the city centre. The scheme will see the demolition of the existing and much-hated shopping mall and its replacement with 850,000 sq ft of new retail, leisure and residential space around a crescent and futuristic hotel.
A consortium of property and industry figures are behind the proposed film studio which was announced in August 2014. It would include six sound stages and a creative hub. The project was called in by the Scottish government which had initially said it would not do so after Midlothian Council failed to reach a decision.
Jim O’Donnell, for the developer PSL Land, denied that retail was part of the proposed studio development.
Henderson, however, says extending the number of shops in the Straiton area would “undoubtedly have a negative impact” on Edinburgh city centre and notes how close it is to Straiton Retail Park.
Referring to the St James scheme (above), it adds: “Given the significant scale of this investment proposal and wider benefits that could result for the entire city region, it is important that a strong planning policy framework in place to protest the city centre to maintain investor confidence.
“Our client has legitimate concerns about the (studio) development, its potential to be used as a further extension to the retail park and the resulting adverse impacts.”