SUPERMARKET chain Sainsbury’s bid to build a new superstore in Hamilton Road in Motherwell has come under fire from the Federation of Small Businesses.
The group has said the planned superstore could have an adverse effect on its members and has urged councillors to back existing town centres instead.
Lanarkshire branch chairman Maureen Gormley said both councillors and officials should come up with local recovery plans which understand the importance of local growth.
She said: “They have to do everything in their power to make local town centres attractive to new and established businesses through more suitable, affordable premises and they have to make sure they are attractive to shoppers.
Colin Borland, the federation’s head of external affairs, added: “Nobody knows the local situation better than our members and if they feel a development is in the wrong place then they should be listened to.
“Our bottom line is that we want to see more of the money spent locally staying local. We would also like to see more creative use of existing space in our town centres.
“Sainsbury’s might well have specific requirements about facilities for deliveries or the size of their car park, but they should not be insurmountable in terms of sustaining the local town centre.”
The firm said they were disappointed the federation was not supporting its plans.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “It has been shown in our detailed Retail Impact Assessment, which
was submitted as part of our planning application, that the proposed store will have no net detriment on the current town centre shopping provision.
“Indeed, our store is likely to attract people into the Motherwell area and encourage people not to leave and spend their money in other areas.
“We believe this will be a good thing for the small businesses in the area, as our store will encourage people to stay and shop locally.
“Colin Borland says that they want to see more local money spent locally, so it is strange that he would not be more supportive of a proposal that offers exactly that benefit to the area. This seems very short sighted.”
But the firm’s plans have been backed by Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce who say a new store will bring benefits to the area.
Spokesman Malcolm Southern said: “Sainsbury’s is well regarded for its involvement with local suppliers, and this store will create a significant number of jobs both in the construction phase and in its operations.
“Although we understand there are those who are concerned about the impact on local retailers, we are satisfied with the evidence that this proposal is likely to be beneficial to those who offer specialised retailing, as it will attract shoppers who would not otherwise consider Motherwell as a shopping venue, and it will create diversity of choice for daily needs.”