Waitrose MUST be made to benefit Milngavie and Bearsden

Waitrose

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Plans must be put in place so that Milngavie extracts the maximum benefit from its new Waitrose store, an MSP has said.

Gil Paterson has written to East Dunbartonshire Council asking what the authority intends to do to ensure that visitors to the upmarket superstore stay and splash their cash in the precinct.

Traders have expressed fears after the recent decision to grant Waitrose permission to set up shop on land owned by West rugby club just off the Burnbrae Roundabout.

Some businesses fear they will suffer when the development opens next year.

Waitrose deny this, saying their stores bring people in, boosting trade.

Mr Paterson, the Milngavie MSP, wants to know what plans are in place to make this a reality.

He has welcomed the decision to allow Waitrose to build in Milngavie and the 180 jobs it will bring.

However, he said: “I have written to the council to ask what provisions have been made to ensure an increased number of visitors to the area have easy access to the precinct. I am concerned that parking could be a problem, with the new restrictions coming in at the end of the year.

“Allowing consent is one thing, but the council must ensure that everything possible is done to encourage visitors from outwith the area to come to the precinct and help keep it vibrant.

“The local shops and the precinct itself is the heart of the community and there is an opportunity to breathe new life into the area if plans for access and parking are made now.

“It is my understanding that the council can lay down conditions to the consent at this stage and these conditions must reflect the well-being of the precinct.”

Councillor Billy Hendry, Planning Board chair, said: “We are finalising conditions and a legal agreement which covers a number of important issues to improve links in the area of the new store for drivers and pedestrians.

“The agreement will seek developer contributions towards Milngavie town centre improvements and links, the A81 corridor strategy, upgrading of the Burnbrae Roundabout and nearby junctions, provision of two new pedestrian crossings on Glasgow Road and Main Street and a new pedestrian route through Antonine Garden.

“It is important that these issues are addressed to ensure Milngavie benefits as much as possible from the increased footfall we anticipate the new store will bring to the town.”

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