Survey reveals public support for new Westway supermarket

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:47 on 10 December 2014.
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Westway Retail Park. Picture: courtesy of Bill Henry..
CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn, has revealed the results of a survey undertaken by his office which appears to show support for a proposed new supermarket at Westway Retail Park.

The SNP MSP surveyed residents the streets closest to the Westway Retail Park in Cumbernauld. The current results of that survey indicate strong local support for a move which could see a food retailer move to the Westway Retail Park.

Mr Hepburn’s announcement came after Cumbernauld Media confirmed Aldi were looking at the site as a potential home for a new Cumbernauld store – although the grocery chain says nothing is final.

Currently, as a result of planning restrictions placed on the retail park by the Council, none of the buildings at the site can host a food retailer. However, a planning application to merge units 5b and 6 has been lodged with the Planning and Regeneration department of the council, in Fleming House.

Included within that application is a request for a Change of Use, which would remove the current restriction barring food retailers from operating at this retail park.

According to the chain’s property requirements, the company will accept to purchase freehold premises in town centres or edge of centre sites suitable for development – with a minimum site size of 0.8 acres. Westway Retail Park’s units meet those requirements.

While responses to Mr Hepburn’s survey are still being received, currently there is near unanimous support, some 97% of responses so far are in favour granting the Change of Use and allowing a food retailer to operate from the site. Every respondent to date has stated they would use the Westway Retail Park more regularly if it had a wider range of shops and facilities.

The survey also revealed strong support for the view that a food retailer could boost the retail park as a whole, increase footfall and lead to better transport links.

Commenting on the results of his survey Mr Hepburn said: “A number of people have raised concerns with me as to the future of the Westway Retail Park. I understand that there are serious concerns about the long term viability of this retail park as things stand at the moment.”

The SNP man added: “It is unclear to me why the local authority stipulated that food retail wouldn’t be allowed at the Westway Retail Park. It is obvious that this retail park could support far more trade than it is currently experiencing.

“It is clear that something needs to be done now to breathe life into the retail park. Removing the barrier to food retailers there might be one way of doing this.

“On the back of this survey, once the results in full are in, I will be making my own submission to the consultation on this planning request in which I will reflect the almost unanimously supportive response my survey has received to date.”

A spokesman for Aldi Stores in Scotland said: “We would very much like to have a store in Cumbernauld and have been looking to find the best location to suit our requirements.

“It is premature to speculate about any specific site at this stage but we hope to report further progress in the New Year.”
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