Backing for Waitrose plans

PLANS by up-market supermarket chain Waitrose to set up shop in Milngavie have been given early backing from politicians.

Both SNP MSP Gil Paterson and LibDem MP Jo Swinson said they welcomed the company’s “interest” in the project, which could see a new store built on one of West of Scotland’s rugby pitches next to the Burnbrae Roundabout on Glasgow Road.

Mr Paterson said: “This is an exciting and welcome proposal on several levels. Firstly, if this planning application is successful it would secure the immediate future of the West of Scotland Rugby Club and bring 180 jobs to the area.

“Secondly, it will bring visitors and prosperity to the town which, provided proper consultation is undertaken with the public and local traders, could have an excellent spin off effect on other businesses in Milngavie.

“The extra competition could result in lower prices on many brands being offered from other supermarkets, which can only benefit the consumer in these cash-strapped times.”

Ms Swinson was more guarded in her welcome, anticipating some of the potential problems which have plagued Tesco’s plans to expand their Milngavie store, where people have complained it is too big for the area and would damage the town centre.

The MP said: “I welcome the interest Waitrose has shown in Milngavie, and I’m sure many residents would love to have a local Waitrose.

“However we haven’t yet seen the plans and there may well be concern in the community about the proposed location and the impact it could have on the village. I am glad that there are plans for an extensive programme of consultation and I look forward to meeting Waitrose representatives on March 23 to discuss further.”

Waitrose says it plans to rigorously consult about its plans, which have the full backing of West and would see the club gain an all-weather pitch.

The total size of the supermarket would be 25,000 square feet and there would be 225 parking spaces created.

If planning permission is granted, work would commence early in 2013 year and the store would be open by the end of the year.