Neighbours back plans to redevelop old Agilent site

PLANS to replace the former Agilent Technologies site in South Queensferry with a major business and retail park have been unveiled.

The technology firm submitted a proposal of application notice to the city council last week, to redevelop the site for residential use as well as retail and business units, food and drink outlets and a "non- residential institution" such as a crche.

But the company said detailed plans for the 35-acre site had not been confirmed.

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Paul Gourlay, Agilent's workplace services manager for West Europe, said: "There is not a lot of detail available at this point in time - what has been submitted is a pre-announcement of an application. It is a notification that Agilent will submit a planning application in 12 weeks' time. During that 12 weeks we will work with the relevant parties to develop a suitable plan. The plan needs to be right for the area and community."

Agilent Technologies - the United States giant formed in 1999 as a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard - moved to a smaller office at Edinburgh Park in July after slashing staff numbers at its former South Queensferry base at Scotstoun Avenue/Ashburnham Loan.

Queensferry and District Community Council spokesman Tom Martin welcomed Agilent's plans.

He said: "The community council has put forward suggestions for what may be appropriate on the site and it basically parallels to a large extent what the planning application in principle sets out.

"We are very keen to make sure that whatever happens on the site is complimentary to Queensferry, which is a very attractive place to live.

"We will have to wait and see what the fine detail is but as long as it is to the benefit of Queensferry, as well as the developers, then yes - we will support that."

SNP councillor for Almond, Norman Work, also said he supported plans for a mixed use development.

He added: "There's nothing controversial about the plans, so if they are what the community wants then I'm happy with that. As far as I'm aware, the community supports that type of development. I also support the concept of mixed use."

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A public consultation/exhibition on the plans is proposed to take place at Rosebery Hall Community Centre from November 24-26, with a public exhibition following at Orocco Pier from January 25 to 27 next year.

Agilent, which has its HQ in California, works in the fields of life sciences, electronics and chemical analysis to research and create measurement instruments.