Cumbernauld’s MSP speaks of Tesco Condorrat ‘concerns’

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 14:39 on 8 February 2015

Condorrat    Tesco    Politics

01-06-2013 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - Condorrat Gala Day, 2013, at St. Helen's Primary School; Picture shows Condorrat War Memorial Social Club, on Condorrat Main Road.
Condorrat Social Club would be, in part, turned into a Tesco Express store, if the proposals get the go ahead. Picture: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media.

AS TESCO continue with their bid to open a new ‘Express’ branded store in Cumbernauld, the area’s MSP has said he has concerns around the proposals.

The SNP MSP’s comments come after a full planning application for a new Tesco Express store on Condorrat Main Road was validated by the council’s planning department on 19 January.

Plans included in the firm’s application confirm that Tesco is looking for permission to change the use of part of Condorrat Social Club to a convenience store with exterior works, the creation of a ramp and disabled access, as well as the installation of a plant. 

The work would see 366 sq. metres of Condorrat Social Club become home to a brand new Tesco Express – making it the firm’s third shop in Cumbernauld – however, the mooted store has been controversial.

Condorrat’s Pollok Hall was packed out to capacity in April 2014 as eager local residents turned out to hear more about the proposals for the store, after members of the social club backed Tesco’s bid by 137 votes to 34.

The rowdy public meeting followed a Condorrat Community Council survey of businesses on Condorrat’s Main Road, which revealed that 93 per cent of businesses opposed Tesco’s proposals. 

Protests and petition days followed the public meeting, though it was all to no avail, with a Tesco spokesman confirming in December 2014 that after “a public meeting, in April, we will be proceeding with our application in the next few weeks.” 

A full planning application followed in late January 2015, with a target determination date of Thursday 15 March 2015 set against the application, which continues to stir anger in Condorrat, with locals leading a charge against the proposals. 

Now Cumbernauld and Kilsyth’s constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament has outlined his concerns about the proposals being pursued by Tesco.

In his submission to the consultation on the planning application the local MSP highlighted a number of ways these plans – which could see the Condorrat Social Club partially converted into one of the supermarket’s chains – could have a negative impact on the area.

In his submission he highlighted concerns about how these proposals would affect the existing businesses, traffic levels and the character of the centre of Condorrat.

He also set out concerns that any jobs the supermarket might bring would be undermined if it forced established local businesses to close.

Commenting, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn said: “The Council must consider seriously the impact that granting this application permission at the proposed location would inevitably have on the Condorrat Main Street.

“The Main Street in Condorrat functions well and suffers from far less of the challenges of empty units which are unfortunately all too common a feature of town centres elsewhere.

“Granting this application could threaten the viability of establish independent local businesses which may well struggle to compete with the supermarket giant.

The SNP man added: “There are also serious questions about the impact this application could have on the traffic levels locally, if it were to be granted by North Lanarkshire Council. 

“The Council must take this on board and proceed with caution with this application given the impact that opening a Tesco at the proposed location would inevitably have on the area.”