Supermarket plan withdrawn

PLANS for a new supermarket and filling station on the outskirts of Newton Stewart have been scrapped after more than a year in the making.

CWP Kildrummy, the com­pany behind the proposal to build a £10 million store at Barnkirk, has withdrawn its planning application because of “several issues” which were flagged up during the community consultation into the plan.

However, it says it intends to return within 12 months with a fresh application for the same site.

The plans had split the community of Newton Stewart and surrounding areas with some people desperate for the supermarket which, they believed, would deliver more consumer choice and cheap petrol. Others felt it would kill the high street and a protest group calling itself Save Our Street was set up to collect signatures against the plans.

But speaking exclusively to The Galloway Gazette this week, James Harbison, on behalf of CWP, said there had been some parts of the application which had led them to feel pulling it would be the best plan for now.

He said: “I can confirm that we have withdrawn the application as we wish to amend our proposals in light of the consultation exercise which we conducted with Newton Stewart shoppers and the wider community.

“We had considerable support

expressed in favour of our plans during our extensive public consultations. However, we have also had some criticisms from certain elements of the community and we believe we can modify and amend our scheme to help allay some of their concerns.”

He added: “I can also con­firm

that we will be bringing for­ward fresh plans for a modern supermarket in Newton Stewart

on the same site.”

Local butcher Kenny Owen, who had been at the helm of the Save Our Street campaign, said on Wednesday: “This com­pany came promising 150 jobs which just gave false hope of employment in the current climate. The news of it pulling out just proves it didn’t have anyone behind it lined up to take the store on, and we should be very careful not to fall for this again.”

MSP Alex Fergusson, who has been outspoken against the

plans, said: “While I am delighted CWP has seen fit to withdraw its application at this stage, it is clear that a further application is likely to be brought forward in the future. As long as that application is for the same site, I will maintain my opposition to it, because the very last thing Newton Stewart town centre needs is an out of centre supermarket.”

However, some local shoppers were disappointed to hear the news and said they would continue to support any future application with the same gusto.

Referring to complaints from opponents about the appearance and location of the plans, Jim McCulloch from Whithorn said: “This decision does not surprise me. They’ve been hounded out by the opposition. How can people complain about an unsightly building going up next to a cemetery, when I read that our council has set aside £500,000 for a recycling plant right next door? Will anyone object to this? I think not.”

One Newton Stewart resident who asked not to be named for employment reasons said: “Speaking on behalf of many people who had been rooting for this application to go through, I think it’s fair to say we’re gutted.

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – gone are the days when our wages afforded us the luxury of shopping for prime cuts or fresh produce every day. We simply need cheaper choices and more of them which Newton Stewart cannot fulfil despite its array of shops. None of the produce in these current shops is ideal, just like their location.

“I would like CWP to know we will continue to support their plans as long as the end result brings

our town into the 21st century, before more people choose to leave the area.”

Another supporter added: “This is a missed opportunity for the town, the Machars and the folk of Wigtownshire in general. Let us hope the application is resubmitted as soon as possible.”

Mid-Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol added: “I am disappointed that this application has been withdrawn for whatever reason. There has been so much controversy about it that it would have been good for the planning committee to have brought it to a conclusion, whatever that decision may have been, and so ending the speculation which has been rife in the community.”