After more than two decades of discussion, Alexandria’s dilapidated Mitchell Way will be flattened to make way for a new supermarket.
Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s infrastructure, redevelopment and economic development (IRED) committee last week formally agreed to demolish the remaining buildings on Mitchell Way and hand the land over to Lidl.
A planning application was submitted to the local authority at the beginning of the year by the organisation who want to develop a new food store with more than 130 parking spaces.
The council’s planning department has since advised that a 25,000 square feet food store, with 135 parking spaces, separate customer and service access from Bank Street is the most agreeable way forward.
During the IRED committee Labour councillor Michelle McGinty said: “I think we have to ensure that the demolition of Mitchell Way takes place sooner rather than later as the people of Alexandria have waited a long time.
“Plans have changed time and time again. If we agree this today, it allows us to move forward with the demolition and plan for the future.
“The area is quite run down and I think we need that initial start to show us that something is going to happen there.”
SNP group leader councillor Jonathan McColl presented a motion asking committee to continue this item to allow for a more detailed report on the proposals to be brought before members.
Councillor McColl said: “Officers should outline why this is a good deal for Alexandria and the Vale of Leven.
“We are essentially giving this piece of land to Lidl for free and we are also hearing that Lidl are no longer taking anything to do with the housing so we are not getting any of that added value from it.”
Council leader Martin Rooney said he didn’t see the sense in delaying the development any further and that once Lidl was built, the council would look for a housing developer.
Councillor Rooney said: “The ambition is to develop the site at Mitchell Way. It was to get an anchor store, to get housing and to get public realm.
“The reduction of retail space was one of the issues.
“If we agree with the recommendations, it gives us a demolition and a new Lidl store which lots of people want in Alexandria.
“I don’t see the sense in delaying it as we will end up back here in another four years discussing what we are going to do.
“Lets get Mitchell Way demolished, let’s get Lidl done, the public realm done and then lets seek a housing developer to get the housing development done as well.”
Following the discussion the majority of members agreed to proceed with the demolition and that the remainder of the site be put on the market for housing once a new boundary has been agreed.
The council’s regeneration committee will also consult with planning, local residents and businesses with regards to the development of open and amenity spaces.
The council also agreed to retain the option to consider the land for council housing at a future date.