Plans for two major retailers would bring 80 jobs to East Lothian town

Two major retailers have been announced for a new East Lothian development in a move that will create 80 jobs.

Detailed planning applications have been submitted to the local council for Lidl and B&M stores at DunBear Park, Dunbar. With site infrastructure this is set to deliver £30 million of investment in the development.

The 54.3-acre project is designed around The DunBear, a five-metre high steel sculpture of a brown bear which pays tribute to Dunbar-born naturalist John Muir, credited with playing a key role in the establishment of national parks in the US.

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DunBear Park is part of the Hallhill mixed-use development, which aims to include office, industrial, retail, leisure, extra care facilities, community and residential uses.

Detailed planning applications have been submitted to the local council for Lidl and B&M stores at DunBear Park, Dunbar.

The joint application by Hallhill Developments, Lidl and B&M follows planning applications for roads, footpaths and essential infrastructure submitted last year, together with renewable energy proposals for the site.

Occupying more than 400 acres, the land at Hallhill was acquired in 1990 by Hallhill Developments.

Since commencing work in 1999, the development has delivered more than 1,500 homes, either built or under construction, of which around 250 are affordable family homes.

Hallhill is also the location for Dunbar Primary School, an Asda supermarket, garden centre, hotel, pub/restaurant and a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant.

Developers noted that there were major discount retailers in all the major towns in East Lothian, except Dunbar and, as a consequence, “unsustainable travel” is occurring, with residents of the town going elsewhere.

Ken Ross from Hallhill Developments said: “At a time when retailers are scaling back due to the pandemic, it is great to be able to announce that these operators will be coming to DunBear Park. This will address the increased demand and provide greater competition, key themes that came from the community consultation exercise we undertook.

“This £30m investment will deliver up to 80 much-needed new jobs for the local community, which is a clear vote of confidence in this location and will also serve to deliver the necessary infrastructure to allow us to bring forward further investment into Dunbar.”

Philip Mellor from the Dunbar Traders’ Association added: “Developments such as this complement Dunbar town centre, and through preventing retail leakage to elsewhere in East Lothian and Edinburgh will keep more money in the town.

“In order to maximise the potential of these exciting developments we will be working with the developer to establish ways to promote and use appropriate signage. This will attract people who are visiting these outlets and/or the fantastic DunBear sculpture to the town centre. This is a win-win situation for Dunbar.”

The project’s backers said DunBear Park aimed to be a “highly sustainable development”, adopting the latest low carbon technology to generate renewable heat and power on site. This approach will ensure minimal impact on the environment and assist in tackling climate change, as well as supporting the green recovery from Covid-19, they added.

Heating is planned to be delivered onsite via a district heating network, including the use of modern, low carbon electric heat pumps.

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