Sainsburys in Bruntsfield – still time to give your views

Last night Green MSP Alison Johnstone and I attended a meeting of Brunstfield traders and residents. It is the second meeting since it became known Sainsburys have bought out Peckhams shop on Bruntsfield Place.

Sainsburys is used to getting its own way, I am sure. But there’s a real appetite locally for alternatives. There’s still a planning process to go through and some great ideas for promoting existing shops. Comments can be made up until Monday morning on the planning website or directly to

Many at the meeting last night had strong feelings about the proposed frontage: there will be a stong visual impact to the building as adverts in vinyl and the frosted vinyl panels stuck to the building will remove the three dimensional view of the shop, and there will be no ‘shop windows ‘ and displays of goods as the shop was designed to have. This will have a visual impact on the area and not just the street.

The size of the adverts are out of keeping with anything else in the area, and will dominate rather than complement the adjoining frontages. The uniform adverts and the frosting on the windows at every Sainsburys will be lit by the overhead lights, changing the appearance at night. Who wants a giant photograph of an old fashioned shop scene, replacing that cosy inviting glimpse of the inside of the real shop with the movement of real shop keepers and real residents inside? Flat illuminated advertising on a blank wall don’t enhance my shopping experience. I really hope that lots of people take a look for themselves at the portal page and make their views known before Monday morning.

Sainsbury’s jumped the gun yesterday, and placed large vinyl posters blanking out the windows of the shop advertising their arrival on June 1st. They do not yet have permission to put up their standard advertising, let alone pre-arrival advertising. Thanks to the Chair of Merchiston Community Council, Sainsbury’s are removing the adverts and have apologised, although they claim that they were given the go-ahead for the vinyls. A formal complaint has been made.

47 objections were noted regarding Sainsbury’s advertising in the windows of Peckham’s, and thank you to everyone who took the time to make those objections. The planning application will now go before the committee on the 21st March. Councillor Alison Johnstone will be speaking for the residents and traders, and I will urge you to encourage other councillors to attend and object. The meeting will be open to the public – 10am, Wednesday 21st March at the City Chambers.