TOWN centre shops in Haddington face a fall in income of 14 per cent when new out of town retail units open, experts have warned a local authority.

A survey on the impact of a new retail site at the western entrance to Haddington warned that the fall in revenue was likely but described it as a “medium loss”.

And it said that if the loss was higher it was likely some businesses in Haddington town centre would close as a result.

The survey was carried out on behalf of East Lothian Council amid plans to open Gateside Retail Park on the western edge of the town, close to the  A1.

At a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee on Wednesday, an application for three major retail stores, two restaurants, with one including a drive-thru, and nearly 300 car parking spaces, was approved by members despite concerns about the impact on the town centre.

The application will see names including Aldi, Home Bargains and The Food Warehouse move into the new park with Greggs and Costa also planning to launch there.

East Lothian Provost John McMillan, the cabinet spokesperson for economic development, raised concerns about the timing of the application for the out of town development, which comes as Haddington town centre is undergoing a consultation over future plans.

The local authority has launched a review of the management of the town centre which includes proposals to create a transportation hub on the eastern side of the town to reduce parking in the town centre itself among options.

Councillor McMillan, ward member for Haddington, voted against approving plans for the Gateside retail units saying: “I do not think this is the right time to grant permission.”

However he was outvoted by colleagues on the planning committee who approved the plans despite a local resident telling them she believed it would be a “blight” on the western entrance to the town.

Helen Fraser, who lives in the Gateside area, said the impact on the town centre of the retail park could be devastating.

She said: “I spoke to one trader in the town centre who says he could potentially lose over 25 per cent of his revenue and states that while he believes he will survive that other businesses cannot.”

The application was approved by seven votes to one. It is not known when building work may start on the project.