SAINSBURY’S proposed development in Motherwell could be in doubt after the Scottish Government stated the Hamilton Road site should not be used for shopping.
The Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals has produced a report looking into unresolved issues in the North Lanarkshire Local Plan.
Among these issues is the designation for use of the former bus garage, which has lain empty for several years.
A planning application is being considered by North Lanarkshire Council for a Sainsbury’s supermarket on the site. However, Scottish Government reporter Richard Dent recommended the site should be used for a residential development and feels it is unsuitable for the supermarket.
He wrote: “I have been provided with no evidence that a development of the scale shown in the indicative plan is appropriate.
“Equally, nothing has been provided to demonstrate that a foodstore of that scale would not have an adverse effect on the vitality and viability of existing centres.
“I conclude that the designation of the site for mixed-use purposes, including retail use, should not be applied to the site.”
However, Mr Dent offered a glimmer of hope for a development.
He wrote: “In the event Scottish planning policy could be satisfied, it may be that a retail proposal for the site could be brought forward.”
Despite Mr Dent’s reservations Sainbury’s are confident they will be in a position to open in Motherwell.
Paul Miller, national development surveyor for Scotland, said: “We welcome the reporter’s findings that, subject to satisfying certain planning policy tests, it may be that a retail proposal for the site could be brought forward.”
The council has three months to respond to the DPEA.
Full story in February 16 edition of Motherwell Times