ALMOST nine out of 10 people have backed plans by Waitrose to open a new food store at Burnbrae.
Analysis of more than 1,000 feedback forms received during a recent consultation shows overwhelming support for the scheme, which would create around 180 new jobs and see West of Scotland Rugby Club getting a new, all-weather pitch.
More than 1,240 forms were received – with 87 per cent of respondents positive about the proposal to build a Waitrose store on one of West’s pitches, next to the Burnbrae roundabout.
Just nine per cent were not positive and the remainder were neutral.
More than eight in 10 respondents (82 per cent) said there was a “great need” for a “new, high quality” supermarket in Milngavie.
One in 10 answered “no need” and eight per cent were “not sure”.
The most frequently raised concerns related to the additional traffic that the development might generate and related issues such as pedestrian and cyclist access.
Town Centre Securities (TCS), who are the proposed developers, say they are already working with East Dunbartonshire Council to address these issues and will prepare a full traffic assessment for their planning application.
The potential impact of Waitrose on Milngavie town centre and comments that the area was already well provided for in terms of food stores were emphasised by five per cent of respondents.
A retail impact assessment study commissioned by TCS and Waitrose will be shared with town centre retailers over the summer.
Waitrose has said it expects to draw new shoppers and trade worth around £4million to the area.
As the Herald went to press, TCS, West and Waitrose were due to present the proposals – and the results of the public feedback – to councillors at an all-member briefing.
The results of the public feedback will then form a key part of a pre-application consultation report, to accompany the formal planning application when it is submitted later this summer.
Martin Gorman, from Waitrose, said: “We’d like to thank local people for taking the time and trouble to send us their views about the proposal for a new store and replacement rugby pitch at Burnbrae.
“We’re pleased that so many people believe there are benefits to the area in Waitrose coming – and benefits to West of Scotland FC in remaining in business and on their existing ground.
“We are now working closely with the council to ensure that the issues relating to traffic and the roundabout are addressed – after all, it’s in our interest that this works for everyone.
“We also have a particular interest in ensuring that our planned new store complements – not competes with – the vibrant town centre that already exists in Milngavie.”
If the proposal gets the go-ahead from the council, the store would be built during 2013 and open for business in 2014.