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ASDA Pulls Out Of Viewpark
Supermarket chain Asda pulled the plug on plans to build their new £15 million store in Viewpark.
The firm blamed ‘changes in the way people shop’ – and was greeted with anger by local councillors.
“We do not accept the claim by Councillor McCabe that Scotmid’s legal challenge, which was withdrawn in June 2014, is the cause of Asda not progressing with its Viewpark store.”
The company was granted planning permission by North Lanarkshire Council in 2013 following a public consultation and petition signed by over 1,000 people supporting a new store in Laburnum Road.
In January, this year, rival chain Scotmid mounted a legal challenge to the council’s decision, which they later withdrew.
But council leader and Viewpark member Jim McCabe said he believed delays caused by Scotmid’s intervention were partly to blame.
He said: “This situation could have been entirely avoided had Scotmid not instigated a frivolous and wholly unnecessary judicial review of the democratic decision of this council to grant permission for the development.
“Scotmid’s determination to cling on to their monopoly in Viewpark – to the detriment of the people they serve – caused months of avoidable delays.
“Had those delays not happened, the build would be progressing by now and the store opening would have gone ahead.
“The support from local people and councillors was overwhelming for the proposed store and the council’s planning and regeneration service worked extremely hard for many months with Asda to ensure that the proposals met the objectives of local people and the council.”
Thorniewood councillor Bob Burrows said he was very concerned about the long term plans for the area.
Councillor Burrows said: “Asda’s decision to not support the people of Viewpark not only destroys the prospect of great new local amenities but also dashes the hopes of many who would have been employed.
“Around £2million of much-needed income to the council will now not be received. Upgraded sports pitch provision agreed with Sports Scotland will now take much longer to come to fruition.”
An Asda spokesperson blamed ‘changes in the way people shop’ for their decision.
The spokesperson continued: “When we set our five year strategy in 2013 we said that we will continue to build stores, but not at any cost.
“The way customers shop has changed at a more pronounced pace in the last five years than in the last 20 years put together.
“Unfortunately this means the plans we started to put in place in Viewpark over five years ago will not go ahead.”
To compensate for the loss of a sporting facility - the site is currently used for training by St Columba’s Boys’ Club - Asda had agreed to upgrade the nearby Burnhead playing fields to two full size grass pitches with training area and upgraded changing rooms in the community centre.
“I am particularly concerned about the use of the word ‘frivolous’ by Councillor McCabe, regarding Scotmid’s legal challenge.”
Scotmid hit back at claims by councillor McCabe that delays caused by their legal challenge contributed to Asda’s withdrawal.
Malcolm Brown, Scotmid head of corporate communications, said: “We do not accept the claim by Councillor McCabe that Scotmid’s legal challenge, which was withdrawn in June 2014, is the cause of Asda not progressing with its Viewpark store.
“The reason behind Asda’s decision is Asda’s own, and it is not Scotmid’s place to speculate about this.
“Councillor McCabe should, in fact, refer to Asda’s reasons for pulling out of their supermarket plans. These reasons have nothing to do with Scotmid.
“We would like to remind Councillor McCabe that Scotmid sought the judicial review at the start of this year because we had legitimate concerns surrounding the planning approval.
“After the council addressed these concerns in June, we withdrew our challenge.
We will be seeking a meeting with Councillor McCabe to give him a better understanding of the situation and Scotmid’s continued commitment to the Viewpark area.
“I am particularly concerned about the use of the word ‘frivolous’ by Councillor McCabe, regarding Scotmid’s legal challenge.
“The planning application was recommended for refusal by the officials as it was contrary to the council’s own planning policy and national planning policy.
“Scotmid objected to the application on similar lines but also because of its importance that it should be decided by a meeting of the full council.
“These concerns were ignored by the councillors who proceeded to approve the application.
“Scotmid, on legal advice, raised legal proceedings because the decision of the Council was legally flawed. Scotmid withdraw its legal challenge only after the council had (1) taken its decision back to committee in an attempt to retake the original decision and (2) completed a replacement legal agreement.
“This indicates the council’s acceptance that its original decision was legally flawed and Scotmid were justified in taking legal proceedings against them.
“I would like to reiterate that Asda’s decision to withdraw from their intended development is entirely their own commercial decision.”