SUPERMARKET Morrisons is set to move into the former Dalkeith bus depot, despite having previously ruled itself out of the running.
The superstore is currently finalising a deal with site owner Forrest Developments, it has been confirmed, and, if approved, the outlet could open by 2013 or early 2014.
In October, a Morrisons spokeswoman told the Evening News the firm did “not have an interest” in the site and the company has declined to comment on the latest news.
But Midlothian Council’s head of planning, Ian Johnson, said: “Morrisons are preparing to build a supermarket on the former Dalkeith bus station site. They hope to submit a planning application to the council in January.”
Dalkeith councillor Margot Russell said: “This is very welcome news. Over the years we have run various surveys in the community and there has been overwhelming support for a new supermarket in Dalkeith.
“The jobs created by the store’s arrival will have a positive impact on the community, particularly in terms of youth unemployment.”
The news comes after Sainsbury’s pulled out of a planned £20 million investment to transform the station into a supermarket incorporating a bar, restaurant and health and fitness centre.
It is understood Morrisons’ arrival would create enough jobs to eclipse those lost with First Group’s withdrawal.
Neil Hynd, chairman of Dalkeith Community Council, said: “This is exceptional news for Dalkeith. We’ve got a Lidl here but I think a lot of people would prefer a British supermarket, so to speak.
“It’s also great news for the many older people in the town who are not able to get out and about easily.”
Midlothian MP David Hamilton also backed calls for a supermarket at the site after First Scotland East announced that its Dalkeith depot would be closing.
Forrest Developments has already secured detailed planning consent for a mixed use scheme at the site, providing 58,000sq ft of space.
The designed scheme, according to the company website, would be anchored by a 47,000sq ft supermarket and could accommodate up to 11,000sq ft on the ﬁrst ﬂoor for ofﬁce, leisure and/or restaurant usage. Some 251 parking spaces would be provided along with a number of cycle stands and other green transport measures.
The scheme would beneﬁt from a number of energy saving enhancements and the latest environmental building techniques to ensure a reduced carbon footprint is provided by the operating premises.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “We look at sites all the time which is why we always get linked to several. However, we don’t comment on speculation around acquisition of potential new sites.”