New move to gather views on supermarket

OPPONENTS of plans for a new supermarket in Newton Stewart are being invited to follow the path of supporters and make use of the internet to voice their thoughts on an official Facebook page set up by the developer, CWP, this week.

The page offers contributors the chance to fill out a survey and also publicly post their preferences for or against plans to bring a Morrisons, Tesco or Asda to land at Barnkirk.

Members of a group called SOS – Save Our Street – have gathered more than 1300 names on a petition against the plans from customers and visitors in Newton Stewart, but a Facebook page called Viva La Revolution, with in excess of 500 members, has been using social media as a platform for debate over the plans. And now CWP feels the time has come to open itself up to the ever-popular use of the internet for canvassing opinion. It launched the page on Tuesday.

With 60 “likes” at the time of going to press yesterday (Thursday), opinion had already been voiced on the page with supporters offering good luck wishes to the developer and opponents questioning the need for the supermarket.

Noelle Morris said: “Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Co-op, Costcutter – how many more food stores do we need? A good clothes shop would benefit our area more.”

Bekah Krang added: “How about spending money on something that is going to give a community some inspiration rather than another supermarket with a bleak concrete outlook pushing any idea of community out of the question?”

But Norman Heron countered: “Good luck with the proposals. This can only benefit Newton Stewart and make it a destination town instead of people passing us by heading to Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Dumfries etc.

“If the chamber of commerce wish to alienate the very people their members rely on to spend in their shops they are doing an excellent job.”

The Galloway Gazette website was recently used as a forum for a debate over the plans with one poster calling Facebook users “idiots” for using the Viva La Revolution site to exchange thoughts.

But CWP said: “We considered using Facebook in detail before we decided to go ahead with this but now we hope it will encourage people to fill in the survey and tell us what they think.”

It is claimed the development could bring £10 million of investment and as many as 150 part-time and full-time jobs, though the number is disputed.

Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce president Peter Jeal, who opposes the plan and believes it deter visitors and cause job losses, said a town centre forum seminar is on the cards but was unable to give further details at this stage.