Speculation rife over supermarket operator

The proposed new supermarket for Newton Stewart, but there is not yet a buyer
The proposed new supermarket for Newton Stewart, but there is not yet a buyer

SPECULATION was rife this week that supermarket giant Tesco have their eye on the proposed store and filling station site set to be built on land at Barnkirk, Newton Stewart.

Detailed building plans will be revealed today (Friday) at an event in The Cinema in the town, but several sources have already hinted that Tesco are the likely operator.

But developers CWP Group say there is not yet a buyer lined up but that the scale of the supermarket will be on a par with that of Tesco in Castle Douglas.

James Harbison from CWP said: “We want to extol the benefits of a medium sized supermarket for Newton Stewart, it being a similar size to the Tesco in Castle Douglas. We already know there is considerable leakage out of the Newton Stewart economy with food shoppers regularly going to Dumfries, Stranraer and Ayr.”

“We have no named operator to reveal at this stage but we are confident it will be one of the major supermarkets not currently represented in the town should our plans be approved.

“Our plans also include a petrol filling station bringing supermarket fuel prices locally to the area and proving to be a draw from traffic on the A75 Euro route.”

Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce president Peter Jeal said the main point to consider is how such a development would affect local businesses.

He said: “The Chamber is keen to ensure that the impact of any new development does not threaten existing local businesses which have their roots in the community.

“The central issue is that every £1 spent with a local business circulates locally and is worth between £2 to £3 to the local economy. Every £1 spent in a supermarket which has no roots in the local area is lost to the local economy.

“Newton Stewart already has three supermarkets. Whilst potentially creating new jobs, another supermarket may well also threaten other existing jobs even to the point of cancelling out any benefit.

“We will be keen therefore, to look at these proposals carefully and discuss with the developers, CWP Property Development, their thoughts on this issue.”

Newton Stewart Business Association chairman Gordon Andrews said that until plans are released, there was little point in speculating over how they could affect matters locally.

He said: “Until we know exactly what we’re talking about, no one can really say whether this will be beneficial or otherwise to Newton Stewart. It will be interesting to see the plans and find out what exactly is being proposed on Friday.”

The plans will be available to view in The Cinema between 11am-5pm today, with CWP staff on-hand to explain them and chat to local individuals or groups who may wish to put forward a view.