Out of town shopping malls and designer outlet villages are always popular with bargain hunters. They are convenient to get to, there is usual plenty of free parking and the sales rarely end. It should be a recipe for retail success but that is not always the case, as this abandoned site in West Lothian rather grimly illustrates.
Five Sisters Freeport Shopping Village and Leisure Park, near West Calder, opened its doors to customers on September 5, 1996, claiming to be Scotland’s number one designer outlet village with over 40 stores and a host of leisure attractions.
It made a promising start. Achieving its millionth visitor in February of the following year, plans were drawn up to expand the 50,000 square feet of retail space and add a golf course and snow sports centre.
However, the opening of an outlet village in nearby Livingston in October 2000 impacted heavily on the Five Sisters, drawing away customers and stealing its sales. In November 2004, the complex closed and, despite various plans to redevelop the site, the buildings remain empty and the car park overgrown.