Tesco stands firm warns MP Jo

PEOPLE power is needed to slay plans for a monster Tesco in Milngavie.

MP Jo Swinson was left frustrated following a meeting with superstore bosses this week where they were determined to push through their vision of a huge, double-sized shop in the town - in the teeth of fierce local resistance.

Tesco had its original plans for the redevelopment of its Gavin’s Mill store knocked back by both East Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government.

However, the company is set to have another go - and has made it clear that it will not back down on the scale of its ambitions.

Ms Swinson now says it is vital people contribute to an on-going consultation on the development.

Speaking following her meeting with key Tesco decision-makers, development executive Callum Ford and corporate affairs manager Gloria Coats, the MP said that despite planned focus group meetings next month and exhibitions at the store and Milngavie Library, Tesco indicated they were “extremely reluctant” to move away from plans to double the current Tesco store’s size.

She said: “Despite Tesco’s assertion that they want a store that’s right for Milngavie, the supermarket seem to be standing firm on doubling the size of the present store. Such a monstrous expansion would completely overshadow this sensitive site, with the historic Gavin’s Mill, conservation area and listed railway station.

“It is therefore crucial that local people have their say. Without public pressure, Tesco will remain determined to push through plans which are completely inappropriate for a small and unique town like Milngavie. Send your views to tesco@communityline.org and copy me into your e-mail - jo.swinson.mp@parliament.uk”

Tesco’s Gloria Coats said: “As part of our ongoing consultation with the Milngavie community, I met again with East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson in order to provide an update on our community consultation to date.

“We believe Milngavie needs a store that keeps people from leaving the area to do their shopping and we will bring forward a proposal that will keep people shopping locally. A lot of work went into the Scottish Government Reporter’s decision, which was informed by both ourselves and various Milngavie groups, and the Reporter raised a number of key points that we will look to address in our new plans.

“Our meeting with Ms Swinson raised the importance of Gavin’s Mill and this echoes both the Reporter’s decision and the feedback from the community to date, and is forming a key part of our consultation and re-design activities. I would like to encourage individuals and groups to contact me, provide their views and tell me what they would like from a new Tesco in Milngavie.”

Meanwhile, people are invited to go along to the annual general meeting of campaigning group We Like Milngavie (WLM), which was formed to oppose Tesco’s plans.

It takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, August 3 in the Fraser Centre and, following brief business formalities, the meeting will be open for general discussion.

The group’s Eve Gilmore said: “Come and have your say. We know that a large number of local people support our stance in opposing Tesco’s plans for a monster store in the heart of Milngavie. We appreciate all the support we have been given to date and want to give everyone an opportunity to give us ideas on what to do next to get Tesco to give us the right store for Milngavie. You can do this at our AGM.

“We expect and hope for a lively discussion on the way forward, with your ideas on the best way to get a more suitable Tesco store for Milngavie.”

In order to get an indication of likely turnout, WLM is asking people to e-mail them at admin@welikemilngavie.org in advance if they are attending.