Long-awaited plans for a new Lidl supermarket in the heart of Alexandria look set to be given the green light this week.
Proposals for the new store are recommended for approval by councillors at a meeting of West Dunbartonshire’s planning committee on Wednesday (June 14).
The German supermarket giant has been targeting a move to the Vale for almost a decade, with proposals taking a major step forward last year as it formally applied for planning permission.
If approved the new store would feature a 1,251m sales area “that represents a multi-million pound investment” according to chiefs.
It would create around 40 new jobs and would also feature facilities including an instore bakery.
And councillors are expected to approve the plans - despite concerns raised by residents and community group the Vale of Leven Trust that the development wouldn’t benefit the struggling Alexandria Main Street.
A report, which will be presented to members at Church Street tomorrow, notes fears that “the proposed arrangement encourages shoppers to jump straight into their cars and go home’ and that ‘the proposed location is not in the town centre but on the periphery of the far end of the town.
“This will be detrimental to the smaller independent shops that stretch to the fountain and beyond.”
It adds that concerns were also raised about time limits on the car park, which ‘encourages fill and go shopping’.
However the report recommends that members approve the plans.
It explains: “Concerns have been raised that the proposal will affect footfall in the town centre however it is considered that the addition of further retail offerings will be a positive addition and increase footfall.
“Whilst the car park provided will be time limited, the applicant is proposing that the time limit is set to two hours.
“However in order to encourage shoppers to the foodstore to use the adjacent shops in the town centre it is recommended that this is increased to three hours by condition.
“Representations have been received about the location of the foodstore and creating a barrier to Main Street.
“However, this location has been a long established location for a foodstore, with links to Mitchell Way and then onto Main Street.”
If approved then long-overdue work to demolish the eyesore Mitchell Way shopping precinct could finally begin, with councillors last month slamming Lidl for delays.
Demolition work was due to start at the end of 2022.
But six months later, the precinct remains in place, with residents expressing concerns over the presence of rats in the area, as well as leaks from the crumbling former shops and flats.
At a full meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council, Leven member Michelle McGinty asked: “How long do we have to give Lidl before we decide that they are not going to go ahead with the demolition?”
Members also called on the local authority to explore options to demolish Mitchell Way themselves if Lidl continued to delay works.
Demolishing Mitchell Way and the new Lidl store are key components of £12m plans to transform the Vale which will also see the rundown Main Street given a new lease of life and the iconic Smollett Fountain refurbished.