Big 4 supermarket eyes up Newton Stewart site

The heated debate over a new supermarket for Newton Stewart could reignite this week with the news that a major supermarket chain is keen to build a £10 million store on the outskirts of Newton Stewart.

A spokesman for Edinburgh-based Developers CWP told the Galloway Gazette: “I can confirm that CWP is in discussions with a ‘big 4’ supermarket operator with a view to bringing forward a fresh planning application for the site at Barnkirk Road, Newton Stewart.

“Details are still in commercial confidence but we would hope to be in a position to bring forward a fresh planning application with the backing of a named operator - a £10m investment with 150 jobs - during this year.”

CWP first announced plans for a supermarket and filling station in early 2012. A year later their planning application was suddenly withdrawn due to “several issues”.

The idea of an out-of-town supermarket had split the local community down the middle. Some were in favour, citing more consumer choice, job opportunities and cheaper petrol, while other saw it as another nail in the coffin of high street traders and a ‘Save Our Street’ protest group was former to collect signatures of those against the idea.

Wolf Ritchthofen Chairman Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is an interesting development for the proposed Barnkirk site. For a ‘big four’ player to be willing to commit £10M to Newton Stewart, with potential for over a 100 jobs, demonstrates an intent for the long term, not just to the town, but to the wider area. Hopefully, this kind of new investment can be repeated elsewhere in Galloway – something the area desperately needs. Obviously, we need to hear and see more details about the proposal, but the Chamber broadly welcomes the announcement of a potential £10M local spend. It will be interesting to learn whom the operator will be and what their intent is, as regards local employment opportunities. Consequently, the Chamber has been in contact with CWP, and have been asked, by CWP, to arrange an open meeting to discuss the proposals further.”

Newton Stewart businessman Kenny Owen, who was opposed to the original proposals, added: “Speaking for myself I’ll repeat what I said 23 months ago, they haven’t named an operator and we want to see the plans. This is the same situation we were in two years ago.”