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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

Midlothian Farmfoods workers learned about job losses 'on Facebook'

Farmfoods has been given the go ahead to open a new store in Penicuik despite claims some workers at its previous store learned they had lost their jobs on social media.

The food chain was this week granted permission to build a store on a former car showroom on Edinburgh Road which it said would create up to 20 jobs.

However Midlothian ward councillor Debbi McCall expressed her regret at the way some workers at its previous store in the town's St Kentigern's Road, discovered plans to relocate.

READ MORE: New Midlothian secondary school plans changed to take 400 more pupils

She told a meeting of Midlothian planning committee: "I am disappointed Farmfoods decided to close down the store at St Kentigern's and then bring this application forward.

"I think it could have been managed better. Some of the staff found out on Facebook that they were losing their jobs and I think that is regrettable."

Despite her concerns, Councillor McCall supported the application saying the site in question was an eyesore and adding: "Farmfoods is sorely missed in Penicuik."

Councillor Connor McManus said people had been "extremely active online" over the application and were keen to have the store back in the town.

The supermarket chain applied for the new store on the site, which is across the road from a Tesco supermarket despite previous concerns from planners that it would take customers away from the town centre.

Planning officers told previous occupants AF Noble and Sons who had moved their showroom to Eastfield that vacant town centre units should be filled before a new retail store could be given the go ahead on the land.

However Farmfoods pointed out that before the car showroom opened in the late Nineties the site was home to a supermarket operated by MacKays, arguing it had “historic use”.

A meeting of the council's planning committee on Tuesday was told the site was in a built up area and considered part of a local centre and that while it might create a 'modest' diversion of town centre custom there was no town centre space available for a store of its size.

Councillors agreed to support planning officers recommendation to grant planning permission.

A Farmfoods spokesperson said: "We are delighted by the decision and are keen to return to trade in Penicuik."

The company were asked about claims staff had found out about losing their jobs over facebook but declined to comment.


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