By Martin Graham
PRIMARK are set to open a massive department store in Edinburgh after council bosses gave plans the go-ahead today (WED).
The new store will be built on a prime site on Princes Street in full view of tourist magnets including Edinburgh Castle and The Mound.
At a meeting of the Development Management Sub-Committee of the Planning Committee councillors voted to grant planning permission.
Councillor Eric Milligan welcomed the flagship 75,000 square foot store and noted its significance for Edinburgh city centre.
He said: “This is the most exciting retail news for Edinburgh for a generation.”
“This is just as important as the arrival of Harvey Nichols in St Andrews Square, and will attract more shoppers into the centre of the city.”
The Primark store will be located at the site of the former Littlewoods department store at 91 Princes Street, latterly used by Marks and Spencer.
The existing building will be demolished and a new store created complementing the surrounding properties.
Currently, the Princes Street frontage extends into the street.
But this will be also removed and the new store will maintain the same boundary line as the other shops on the street.
The store will extend all the way back through to Rose Street at the rear where there will be an entrance to replace the present car park at ground level.
On the Princes Street side, the store will be sited right next to a tram stop and pedestrian crossing, which will encourage customers to leave the car at home.
Primark have agreed to pay £158,000 towards the cost of the Edinburgh tram project and a further £340,000 for improvements to the surrounding area, including the development of Rose Street.
The new store will be the first in Scotland’s capital city.
Until now, Edinburgh’s bargain hungry shoppers have had to travel to Dunfermline or further afield.
Primark was founded in Dublin in 1969 by current chairman Arthur Ryan and has grown into a major high street retailer selling high fashion items at low prices.
The company opened their first UK store in 1973 and now has 198 shops in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Belgium.
The new Edinburgh store is expected to open in the winter of 2011.