A SHOP, cafe and storage unit could be developed next to a long-established car dealership and garage at Wallyford.

The John Martin Group has applied for planning permission to carry out alterations and change the use of a showroom and workshop area at the Belmont Group premises on Salters Road.

A ‘to let’ sign outside says: “One ex-car showroom available, surplus to requirements”.

On plans submitted to East Lothian Council by architects, a chemist’s shop is marked as a proposed retail use.

It is understood that it will be ‘business as usual’ at the adjacent Belmont Wallyford garage and Suzuki car dealership, which is not closing, with no change to the services provided there.

The plan for the new development is to utilise an empty building next to the premises.

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, said: “While I have not seen the details of the proposal, I would, in principle, support the proposed development to provide a pharmacy and cafe/restaurant in an otherwise empty premises.

“I believe it would provide enhanced services to the community without detracting from the area.”

Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian’s MP, added: “Further facilities for the community are to be welcomed.

“It is growing fast and outlets are needed.

“The nature of them is for the council to decide but there’s probably a market for both a cafe/restaurant and shop.”

The Belmont Group is described on its website as “one of Scotland’s best known car dealerships”.

At Wallyford, the dealership offers new Suzuki models as well as used car brands.

The company’s website outlines its history, which stretches back to the 1960s in a lock-up garage in Edinburgh.

It states: “From these humble origins, the business has grown to become one of Scotland’s leading new and used car dealership groups. On sale are a range of new and used cars from their dealerships, including new Suzuki models.

“The company was founded by John Martin in 1964. Utilising the expertise he gained as a mechanic with a company called Rossleigh in the 1950s, he set up in business on his own in the ‘Lock up down the Lane’ in Edinburgh.

“John Martin built his business from the outset on a philosophy of customer care. The business grew.

“He moved from the Lane to a garage, named ‘Belmont’ after an imposing house in the area. John Martin was awarded his first new car franchise, Volvo, in 1969.

“This traded as Murrayfield Motor Company; the forerunner of today’s Murray Motor Company.”

The company went on to gain new franchises at a variety of locations over the years.

Belmont at Wallyford made no comment on the planning application when approached by the Courier.