A NEW Scottish retail park is set for a £30 million investment with two major stores lodging joint plans with the developer of the site.

Lidl and B&M have submitted detailed planning applications to East Lothian Council for around 2000 sqm each at the Dunbar park as well as for road infrastructure.

It is expected to create up to 80 jobs if approved.

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

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

The developer said the mixed-use development, which aims to include office, industrial, retail, leisure, extra care facilities, community and residential uses, will adopt the latest low carbon technology.

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It said a key outcome of community consultation was a desire for a better retail offering in Dunbar, “serving to address increased demand and providing greater competition”.

The developer also said there are discount retailers in all the major towns in East Lothian except Dunbar, leading to unsustainable travel with some residents going to other towns to shop.

Hallhill Developments said it has committed to work with community groups, including the Dunbar Traders Association, to deliver onsite signage, “pushing people to visit the town centre”.

Development onsite also serves to financially pump prime infrastructure to deliver further employment uses on the site, it added.

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New infrastructure has to be installed at significant costs and this early phase of development on the DunBear site makes it more likely that future employment-generating development will occur, it is claimed.

The proposed road layout for the development provides a through route east to west across the site and pedestrian and cycle routes are included in the scheme.

Heating is planned to be delivered onsite via an innovative district heating network, including the use of modern, low carbon electric heat pumps. The pumps will be powered by a green electricity supply fed from a series of photovoltaic and battery arrays, which will also deliver green energy to the whole site.

HeraldScotland: Lidl and, inset, B&M.Lidl and, inset, B&M.

Ken Ross, of Hallhill Developments, said the plans represented a “clear vote of confidence” in the site.

“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,” he said. “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, of the Dunbar Traders’ Association, welcomed the plans. “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,” said Mr Mellor. “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.”

Occupying over 400 acres, the land at Hallhill was acquired in 1990 by Hallhill Developments, and since starting work in 1999 the mixed-use development is delivering more than 1,500 homes, currently either built or under construction, of which around 250 are affordable family homes.

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

The developer gifted 15 acres of land which now hosts the Health Living Centre, a community sports hub with excellent facilities and home to most of the sports clubs in town. Land was also provided to East Lothian Council at a subsidised cost to deliver the school.