SAINSBURY’s have appealed to the Scottish Government to allow them to open a store in Motherwell.
A planning application to build a 90,000 sq ft supermarket on the former bus garage site in Hamilton Road was rejected by North Lanarkshire Council in September.
This flew in the face of public opinion with 80 per cent of respondents to a survey carried out by the Motherwell Times earlier this year saying they welcomed the development.
Last week the firm submitted an appeal on the grounds it would regenerate a brownfield site and bring new jobs to the town.
Paul Miller, Sainsbury’s development surveyor, said: “Having taken the opportunity to review the decision by North Lanarkshire Council to refuse our plans for a supermarket in Motherwell we have decided to lodge an appeal to Scottish Ministers.
“We believe that our proposals would bring the right store of the right size in the right location for the people of Motherwell and would like to thank those who continue to show us such fantastic support.”
The appeal is backed by Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy and MSP John Pentland, who had previously hit out at the council’s decision.
Mr Roy said: “I very much hope that the appeal is granted and welcome this decision.”
Mr Pentland added: “It is clear Sainsbury’s have the support of the local public for a new supermarket and it is the right decision to appeal.”
Motherwell West councillor Paul Kelly and Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig councillor Gary O’Rorke were both told to stay away from the planning meeting at which the Sainsbury’s decision was made, having publicly supported the development.
Councillor Kelly said: “I am delighted to learn that Sainsbury’s plan to appeal the decision to refuse a supermarket.
“I have always made my opinion clear from the beginning that the supermarket would be hugely welcomed in our local area and a great investment.
“At present the site is a derelict eyesore and the public have made very clear their support for such a development.
“In these difficult economic times this development would bring much needed jobs and opportunities to our area.”
Councillor O’Rorke added: “I respect the decision taken by the full council to refuse this application even though I disagreed.
“However I am glad that there will now be an opportunity for the application to be looked at again.
“My top concern has always been the jobs and opportunities this development would bring to Motherwell and the fact it would encourage more local people to shop in Motherwell.
“It is also the case, in my opinion, the local public are favour of this development.”