POlitical rivals team up for good of town centre

MSP Alex Neil (left) and Councillor Tom Maginnis chat with Ruth Bowman of New Look
MSP Alex Neil (left) and Councillor Tom Maginnis chat with Ruth Bowman of New Look

SNP and Labour politicians have put their differences aside to support a campaign aiming to safeguard the 1,300 jobs in Motherwell town centre.

It came as Brandon Shopping Centre owners Chester Properties agreed terms with an as yet un-named furniture and electrical supplier to take over the remaining space in the ground floor of the old Asda supermarket.

National health and fitness operator Pure Gym have confirmed they are is discussions to take the first floor of the same building and a planning application has been submitted to North Lanarkshire Council.

Together they will bring another 25 jobs on top of the 120 new jobs and 11 store openings in the last 18 months.

Despite being turned down by Sainsbury’s the owners are also confident they can attract a supermarket to open in Brandon Parade East.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil MSP praised Motherwell town centre’s achievements as he helped launch the campaign by unveiling giant posters carrying the slogan: ‘Together we can keep Motherwell Town Centre working’.

Mr Neil said: “Motherwell town centre is leading the way in North Lanarkshire through co-operation between owners Chester Properties and North Lanarkshire Council and I am delighted that they are starting to reap the benefits.

“Motherwell town centre got £700,000 of the £3m North Lanarkshire received from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Infrastructure Fund which I think is one of the best things we as a government have done.”

Councillor Tom Maginnis, North Lanarkshire’s regeneration convener, also praised Motherwell town centre for bucking the trend of failing high streets.

He said: “Footfall in Motherwell town centre increased last year, while vacancies were running at about half the national average.

“Almost half the shops are independents, which I think is a very important factor in the centre’s success.

“North Lanarkshire Council is totally committed to supporting Motherwell and all our other town centres.”