A THREE-day consultation to discuss building a supermarket on stilts in Motherwell town centre begins today (Wednesday).
Chester Properties, who own and run the Brandon Shopping Centre, last month launched plans for a 63,000 square feet supermarket fronting onto Brandon Parade East with the bulk of its floor space cantilevered over the 450-space car park at the rear.
A public consultation on the proposed development runs until Friday giving members of the public an opportunity to inspect plans and drawings of the proposed town centre supermarket.
Taking place within Unit 99 (former Global Video store) on Brandon Parade South, town centre officials and planning advisors will be on hand to answer any questions
Chester director Tom Tyler said: “I am sure that members of the public who take part in our consultation will realise that there is no need for Sainsbury’s to develop a site outside the town centre.
“If they want to be in Motherwell they could take advantage of this development without breaking any planning regulations or guidelines, and without putting at risk the 1,300 jobs the town centre supports.
“We have been working extremely hard to bring new jobs and businesses like Aldi and Perfect Homes to Motherwell. Given the recent loss of manufacturing jobs in the area, it is crucial that Sainsbury’s isn’t allowed to undermine the stability and future development of the town centre.”
Chester’s planning consultant Iain Michie of Montagu Evans added: “We are duty bound under planning regulations to have a formal public consultation because this is regarded as a major development.
“We expect a lot of interest in the site from supermarket operators many of whom are adopting flexible approaches to create the space they need in crowded town centres.”
Sainsbury’s application to open a store on the former bus garage site in Hamilton Road goes before the planning hearings committee at North Lanarkshire Council next Wednesday (September 12).
In last week’s Motherwell Times planning officials were criticised by Motherwell and Wishaw’s MP Frank Roy and MSP John Pentland for recommending refusal.
This was echoed by local residents who have also told the Motherwell Times they are keen for the development to happen.
Tom Bow said: “I support Sainsbury’s Motherwell because we need a supermarket that gives value for money and that also sells good quality food products.
“It will also enhance the derelict area that has been lying vacant for many years and create jobs in the local community. Motherwell is in need of high quality shops.”
Suzanne Egerton added: “This is one of those special opportunities which, if lost, may never come again.
“This bashed about town would get a real shot in the arm from the hundreds of jobs that the Sainsbury’s store on the bus depot site would give it.
“It deserves something good to happen to it for a change.
“Perversely, for Motherwell’s size, it is dominated by a supermarket monopoly - where is the choice?”
Meanwhile North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed that the roadworks on Hamilton Road and Muir Street will be completed by October 31 and they will write to traders shortly with full details.