Empty unit at new retail park could become pharmacy under new plans

Haddington Retail Park had attempted to find a food outlet tenant for the unused facility.

Empty unit at new Haddington retail park could become pharmacy in plans submitted to East Lothian Council LDRS

A bid to turn an empty unit at a new retail park into a pharmacy after original plans for a cafe were dropped has been given the green light.

Owners of Haddington Retail Park, on the west of the East Lothian town, said attempts to find a business to take on the cafe/takeaway unit had failed to find a tenant.

However owners Epic said interest had been shown in opening a chemist in the small unit and applied to council planners for permission to change the use of it from Class 3 to Class 1 to allow the new retail service.

A report by the local autority’s planning officers said that the applicants had stated the retail park was supposed to be a ‘local centre’ for the west of the town which has undergone a transformation as new housing developments have been built.

And they said attempts to find a cafe/takeaway operator to move into the sole vacant unit on the site had failed.

Officers said: “The supporting statement submitted with this application states that all of the [units] have been built. They are also all occupied with the exception of Unit 4.

“It states that, despite extensive marketing, it has not been possible to find a Class 3 occupier for this unit.

“However, it states that there has been interest shown in occupying Unit 4 as a pharmacy (a Class 1 use) and that there is a high demand for a service facility of this type.

“It states that the approved Haddington Retail Park was, in part, considered to fulfil the role of a ‘local centre’ at the western end of Haddington and that a Class 1 use of the unoccupied building of Unit 4 would be consistent with that role.”

The retail park at Gateside in the town opened last year with new Aldi, Home Bargains and Food Warehouse stores as well as a Costa drive-thru.

In June, a Shell petrol station also opened on the site but the smaller retail unit set aside for a cafe/takeaway remained empty.

The arrival of a Starbuck’s drive-thru next door to the site earlier this year added to facilities available to visitors.

East Lothian planners granted a certificate of lawfulness to the site owners to change the unit’s use.