THE DEVELOPMENT of Sainsbury’s Montrose supermarket has been delayed indefinitely, the company has revealed.
Work on the 22,500 sq ft store had been due to start in February, with completion by late autumn, but the Review understands that problems finalising legal issues related to the site have meant that Sainsbury has had to revise its timetable.
A spokeswoman for the company this week said that although a revised start date could not be confirmed, Sainsbury is still “100 per cent committed” to developing a store in the town.
She said: “We don’t have an alternative start yet, but that will be confirmed at a later date. Sainsbury is definitely still coming to Montrose, there’s just a bit of a delay. These things can sometimes take a bit longer than expected to finalise.”
Planning permission for the store, which will be on the former Lochside Distillery site on Brechin Road, and promises up to 200 full and part-time jobs, was granted last September and the decision followed the company’s extensive public consultation with the local community.
Paul Miller, Sainsbury’s national development manager, said that events have overtaken progress made on the site and the company has already committed to other developments.
He said: “Since planning permission was granted in principle in September 2011, Sainsbury’s has been working hard to finalise all the remaining issues to allow us to commence development of the store.
“In the time it has taken to progress the site thus far, we have already committed to a busy development programme this year and will now need to review when we can begin work on the Montrose store as part of a future programme.”
The news is sure to cause disappointment, as the proposals received a tremendous amount of local support with both local residents and businesses backing plans from an early stage of the application process.
Around 30 local supporters attended Angus Council’s development standards committee meeting in August including local councillors as well as representatives of the three local community councils and Montrose Business and Retailers’ Association.
At the meeting committee members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the company’s plans for the store on the grounds that it had insufficient parking.
The designs had been amended once to increase the amount of parking from 172 spaces to 190 but planners said this still fell short of the council’s required number for a store of that size by 20 per cent.
As well as creating up to 200 jobs, the company also predicts the new supermarket will support food and drink suppliers from Montrose and across Angus.
The store will offer a small selection of non-food items as well as a wide range of Sainsbury’s food products.