Su­per­mar­ket gi­ant to ex­pand into the Ste­wartry

The Galloway News - - Front Page - STU­ART GILLE­SPIE

Su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Aldi is aim­ing to ex­pand into the Ste­wartry.

The Ger­man chain is eye­ing up a site in Cas­tle Dou­glas as part of an “am­bi­tious prop­erty in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme” across Scot­land.

The re­gion’s Food Town ap­pears on a list of “re­quired lo­ca­tions” where it is look­ing to buy a site.

Cas­tle Dou­glas Com­mu­nity Coun­cil trea­surer Martin Fort­num said: “I think an­other su­per­mar­ket would be good for the town as it would save quite a few folk trav­el­ling to Dum­fries to do their shop­ping.

“There was a lot of op­po­si­tion to Tesco but that seems to have set­tled down. Peo­ple come into the town, do their shop­ping and then come down the street to other places.

“Quite a few peo­ple come from other towns as well. There was op­po­si­tion but it was quite a while ago now and I think Aldi and Lidl are quite pop­u­lar now.

“Es­pe­cially in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, we need to sup­port what we can lo­cally and if some­one is com­ing in to cre­ate em­ploy­ment that would be good.”

Cas­tle Dou­glas De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum chair­per­son, Carolyn

Yates, hoped any de­vel­op­ment would be in keep­ing with the town’s nat­u­ral as­sets and sup­port ex­ist­ing busi­nesses. She said: “Our lo­cal shops are the jewel in our crown. “One of the things Tesco did well was al­low peo­ple ac­cess to King Street by putting in new cross­ing and the low wall so that peo­ple could come into the town centre so I would be look­ing for sim­i­lar co-op­er­a­tion and en­gage­ment from the com­mu­nity.”

Aldi cur­rently has 92 stores in Scot­land with four in the re­gion – two in Dum­fries, one in An­nan and one in New­ton Ste­wart.

It is look­ing for sites in a fur­ther 19 places, with Cas­tle Dou­glas men­tioned on a sec­tion of their web­site list­ing towns in Scot­land aimed at the prop­erty sec­tor called “re­quired lo­ca­tions”.

Na­tional prop­erty direc­tor at Aldi UK, Ciaran Aldridge, said: “Aldi is grow­ing rapidly and we are wel­com­ing around a mil­lion new cus­tomers into our stores ev­ery year.

“But there are also hun­dreds of towns across the UK where there is not an Aldi, mean­ing there are hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who can’t eas­ily ac­cess the high qual­ity, af­ford­able food our cus­tomers love.

“We are will­ing to ex­plore all op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing de­vel­oper-led schemes or ex­ist­ing re­tail units.”

The firm is look­ing for sites of around 1.5 acres that can ac­com­mo­date a 20,000 sq foot store and around 100 park­ing spa­ces.

The coun­cil’s lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan, adopted last year, shows just one va­cant busi­ness site in Cas­tle Dou­glas, which is a 1.48 hectare area on Oak­well Road.

The Aldi web­site says they pre­fer to open in towns with a pop­u­la­tion of at least 15,000. Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment statis­tics show Cas­tle Dou­glas has a pop­u­la­tion of less than a third of that, but data from NHS Dum­fries and Gal­loway es­ti­mates the pop­u­la­tion of the Ste­wartry as be­ing around 24,000.

Sup­port Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Martin Fort­num

Dum­fries store One of four Aldi out­lets in the re­gion

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