A supermarket plan with pulling power

A LOCAL developer is hoping to take the community with him in a second and final bid to create a major new supermarket for Kirriemuir

Mark Guild of Guild Homes believes he is on the right path in his attempt to woo a top name to the town.

Readers may recall that his original proposal for a site at Pathhead was, along with proposals for another edge of town site and in central Kirrie, knocked back by Angus development standards committee.

All three applicants appealed the decision, and only the proposal for the former Gairie Works proved successful.

Eight months down the line and, with no word yet of a major retailer coming forward for the Gairie Works site, Mark Guild remains convinced that his proposal is the one the community is behind.

He popped along to last week’s Kirriemuir Community Council in a bid to garner further support for his latest proposal lodged with the planning department in February and described as “materially different from the original application.”

Mr Guild told community councillors that he remained confident that the local community was behind the Pathhead proposal, just as they were first time round.

“We have been consulting with the people of Kirriemuir and the surrounding area for the past two years.

“Ninety-four-per-cent of them tell us that they want a major new supermarket to serve the town and 77% have indicated that they are behind our proposal for a site at Pathhead.

“And, in that two years we haven’t had a single letter of complaint about how we are going about the consultation process.”

Mr Guild said his company had nothing to fear from the public, although he accepted that there will be letters of objection when the proposal eventually comes before Angus development standards committee later this year.

“However, we are at the stage of putting together a good representation of letters of support for what we have planned.

“We are encouraged by the support and it would be a massive boost to us if Kirriemuir Community Council came out in favour of our Pathhead proposals.

“We have been speaking to a major operator. The support is there, but only on a viable site.”

Mr Guild went on to say that, if his company was successful with the revamped supermarket application, he would look into the possibility of buying the Gairie Works site for other uses.

In thanking him for his update on the supermarket proposal, a number of Kirriemuir community councillors reiterated their own personal views that the Gairie Works remained the least favoured site for a new store.

Jim Ritchie, standing in for Roland Proctor as chairman, said: “When the proposals were discussed the first time round the factory site was regarded the least popular place for a supermarket.

Frances Havenga and John Howe indicated they were in favour of the Pathhead proposal, the latter stating that there remained “an accident waiting to happen in Bellies Brae” if the former factory site was transformed into a store.

Kath Stephenson said that, while she remained convinced that the Gairie Works was not a suitable site for a supermarket, she still had to be convinced that there was a real need for a major new store in the town.

She went on to state that the community council would be carrying out its own consultation process ahead of the application going before the local authority’s planning committee later in the year.

“We will set out our own consultation process, it will be robust and the findings will help shape our representation to the council.”

In conclusion, Mr Guild said this latest application for Pathhead would be the last throw of the dice.

“If it doesn’t happen then we will have tried our best,” he added.

“We remain convinced we have a proposal for Pathhead that will pull people to Kirriemuir, not just to do their weekly shop, but for all sorts of other reasons.”