PLANS for a new supermarket in Newton Stewart will be formally lodged today (Friday).
After months of acrimonious debate, developer CWP is submitting its detailed planning application to Dumfries and Galloway Council.
The firm says it is proposing a £10m investment that potentially will bring 150 new jobs at the development in Barn- kirk Road, on the outskirts of the town.
However, the application has reignited the furore over whether Newton Stewart needs or will benefit from such a project. Many opponents of the proposal fear that the construction of the store will be damaging to the town centre.
According to CWP, the application is for a 29,000 sq ft supermarket, 202 car parking spaces and a petrol filling station.
The firm said: “The size of the proposed store, a medium-sized supermarket similar to the Tesco store in Castle Douglas, will bring food competition, choice and lower prices to Newton Stewart.
“The store will provide the full offer of food to help Newton Stewart shoppers avoid making unnecessary trips to stores outwith Newton Stewart. During our public consultations, we also heard much about the retail deficiencies of non-food ranges in Newton Stewart and our plans will be to provide a store which reflects the shopping needs of Newton Stewart and the wider community.
“The plans will also bring the prospect of 150 new jobs for local people of all ages, a mixture of full- and part-time positions.
“Although no operator has been named at this stage, CWP is confident that one of the major food stores not currently in Newton Stewart will be attracted to the town.”
A spokesman for CWP told The Galloway Gazette: “We would like to thank our many supporters for their interest in our plans. Now that plans are lodged, we expect the application to go to committee some time in the New Year once officers have been able to scrutinise our proposals.”
On hearing the news, Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I have been opposed to this proposal from the outset and I remain opposed to it today.
“If it were to be approved, I believe strongly that it would destroy the town centre as it exists today, and that the 150 jobs promised would simply replace the jobs that will be lost from the town centre if it goes ahead.
“Out-of-town supermarkets are increasingly recognised as sounding the death knell for town centre activity – and Newton Stewart town centre is already well provided for with food retailers.
“This development would constitute massive over-provision, and I hope that the proposal will be robustly rejected by our local planning authority.”
Mid Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol said: “I am delighted to hear that CWP has, at last, lodged a planning application and it will be dealt with by the planning process in due course.”