Anger over Asda decision to scrap Viewpark store

Asda Viewpark - View1a
Asda Viewpark - View1a

Supermarket chain Asda have pulled the plug on plans to build a new £15 million store in Viewpark which could have created 200 new jobs.

The firm’s withdrawal - blamed on ‘changes in the way people shop’ - has been greeted with anger by local councillors.

The firm was granted planning permission by North Lanarkshire Council last year following a public consultation and petition signed by over 1,000 people supporting a new store in Laburnum Road.

In January rival chain Scotmid mounted a legal challenge to the council’s decision, which they later withdrew.

But council leader and Viewpark member Jim McCabe said he believed delays caused by Scotmid’s intervention were partly to blame.

Asda’s decision also throws into doubt plans to upgrade community facilities which the firm had agreed to complensate for the loss of sporting facilities at the site of the proposed store.

Councillors in Viewpark reacted angrily to Asda’s decision to scrap the new £15million store.

Councillor McCabe said he was angry and disappointed.

He was also unhappy at Scotmid for mounting its legal challenge over the council’s decision to grant planning permission.

He said: “This situation could have been entirely avoided had Scotmid not instigated a frivolous and wholly unnecessary judicial review of the democratic decision of this council to grant permission for the development.

“Scotmid’s determination to cling on to their monopoly in Viewpark – to the detriment of the people they serve – caused months of avoidable delays.

“Had those delays not happened, the build would be progressing by now and the store opening would have gone ahead.

“The support from local people and councillors was overwhelming for the proposed store and the council’s planning and regeneration service worked extremely hard for many months with Asda to ensure that the proposals met the objectives of local people and the council.”

Thorniewood councillor Bob Burrows said he was very concerned about the long term plans for the area.

He said: “Asda’s decision to not support the people of Viewpark not only destroys the prospect of great new local amenities but also dashes the hopes of many who would have been employed.

“Around £2million of much-needed income to the council will now not be received. Upgraded sports pitch provision agreed with sportscotland will now take much longer to come to fruition.”

An Asda spokesperson blamed ‘changes in the way people shop’ for their decision.

The spokesperson continued: “When we set our five year strategy in 2013 we said that will continue to build stores, but not at any cost.

“The way customers shop has changed at a more pronounced pace in the last five years than in the last 20 years put together.

“Unfortunately this means the plans we started to put in place in Viewpark over five years ago will not go ahead.”

To compensate for the loss of a sporting facility - the site is currently used for training by St Columba’s Boys’ Club - Asda had agreed to upgrade the nearby Burnhead playing fields to two full size grass pitches with training area and upgraded changing rooms in the community centre.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition supporting a store expected to create 200 jobs plus another 200 during construction.