Opinion still divided on supermarket

THE new year will bring a decision on whether to allow a supermarket to be built on the outskirts on Newton Stewart, and supporters and objectors have been voicing their feelings to the council’s planning department.

With opinion divided on the issue, townsfolk have responded to requests for written submissions on the matter, the deadline for which closed two weeks ago.

Lengthy letters of objection raise fears for the “end of the high street”, while more positive correspondence points out that choice is what’s needed for people in the town.

One point made came from Keith Muir of the Forestry Commission Scotland, who raised the issue of the nearby Dark Sky Park, of which he is the keeper, claiming that while he would not object to or support the plans, he must consider the impact any lighting the development would have on the Dark Sky status.

He said: “This application has considered some reasonable lighting. However, it requires more work and the lighting as it stands should not be approved.”

He added: “All lights must have zero upward light. Finally the 20-point lighting design process should be used to ensure good lighting is achieved and the surounding dark skies are not intruded upon by the new development.”

Tony Gibbon, from Minnigaff, said in his submission that he supported the store plans “unequivocally”.

He added: “It is such an exciting prospect and it is vital that it goes ahead. This is of the utmost importance to the future of Newton Stewart. What must be said is this is not just for Newton Stewart but for all the surrounding villages as well.

“Newton Stewart, in my opinion, is somewhat behind the times and is the only major town in Dumfries and Galloway not to have a large superstore. During these tough economic times families like mine are looking for value for money but must also offer substantial variety and choice.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council will make a decision on the plans in 2013.

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