Aldi store arrival looking unlikely

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Peterhead businessman and developer, Rodger Morrison, has questioned the foreseeable future for the current Aldi-owned site at Kirk Street.

The former Kirkburn Mill one-acre site has now been owned by the nationwide food retailer for more than two years, yet no development has yet taken place.

It is believed that Aldi is still looking for six retail units to join them at the site.

Mr Morrison, who is also chairman of Peterhead Football Club, said it was no wonder that business hasn’t been attracted to the Peterhead area.

He said the continuing lack of a dual carriageway linking the BLue Toon with the Granite City had meant nearby towns like Inverurie were thriving.

When interview prior to news of the Tipperty to Balmedie dualling finally being given the go-ahead last week, Mr Morrison told the Buchanie: “We are still waiting for a trunk road to be put in place from Peterhead to Aberdeen, and with Stewart Stevenson resigning from being Transport Minister, there is now a new politician looking at the plans, which isn’t doing us any favours.

“I’ve personally approached businesses like Marks and Spencers and Tesco Express but none of them are interested because of our AB social group figures. And, as the town leads to nowhere geographically, I can easily see why there is a problem for Aldi

“Aldi was bought pre-recession, and if there was little likelihood for business then, there’s even less now in this current climate. Also, with current talk of the tax increase on supermarkets, Aldi are probably taking this into consideration for opening up another store.”

On the other hand, people may worry that creating a development out of the town could lead to shoppers not needing to head into the town centre at all.

Mr Morrison added: “Having a new development like this could put the shops in the town at risk, and the town centre does not need any less customers.”

The vacant site has also been under threat by vandals, who have damaged the wooden fencing around the site as well as entering the site and damaging derelict buildings inside.

The site, which is also now easily accessible by youths, could potentially put them in danger and is a growing concern for members of the public.

Aldi were contacted three times in the past week regarding the Peterhead site, however had “no comment to make at this time”.

Peterhead councillor Stephen Smith commented: “I can understand why businesses are reluctant to invest in new sites in the present financial climate.

“However, there is no excuse for allowing the Kirkburn Mills site to descend into an eyesore and it is concerning that the PR department of the company responsible is now not even making any comment in response to approaches it is receiving.

“I will be taking the condition of the site up with the company’s senior management.”