Two Aberdeenshire councillors have welcomed plans to build an Aldi store in Peterhead after the German supermarket announced it’s intentions last week.
The Buchan Observer exclusively revealed that work on a ‘modern, single storey food store’ with car parking at the former Kirkburn Mill site would begin by the end of 2015.
It is understood the development will bring with it dozens of new jobs for the town.
Now councillors Stephen Smith and Stuart Pratt have praised the move.
Cllr Smith (SNP), representative for Peterhead South and Cruden, said:“I’m not able to comment at this stage on what will now become a live planning application but the principle of the Kirkburn site being put to good use and a new business being attracted to Peterhead is one that I’m happy to support.
“I’ve not been Aldi’s greatest fan over the manner in which they have left this site to decay and give a bad impression of the town, but I hope the town can move on from that.
“This will means new jobs and the development of a brownfield site.
“What’s more, I understand that as a company, Aldi’s commitment to local suppliers and Scottish produce is very strong, so I hope there may be opportunities for local suppliers to benefit as well.”
His thoughts were echoed by his ward colleague cllr Stuart Pratt (SNP).
Cllr Pratt said: “It will be great to see the site being developed and an Aldi store should generate some more competion within Peterhead and provide some jobs.
“This site has been an eyesore for a number of years and a lot of time has been invested in getting something done.”
Aldi snapped up the land at the entrance to the town in 2008 when former owners Smiths went into administration.
But although the mill buildings were demolished a year later, no store has ever been built and controversy over the eyesore site has raged ever since.
Last week Aldi’s Scotland Director of Property, Graham Nicolson told the Buchan Observer: “The business of retailing is constantly changing – what was once a commercially challenging prospect at the height of the recession now looks a lot more attractive.
“Aldi’s strong trading performance, particularly over the last two years, has set our business on an ambitious expansion programme.
“Scots shoppers love the brand – nowhere more so than in Aberdeenshire where we are set to open two new stores in Ellon and Inverurie to add to our existing store in Westhill.
“We have had a number of productive discussions with the council’s planning and economic development team, as a result of which we will now be bringing forward a new planning application for the development of the site.”
Aberdeenshire Council - who have had a difficult relationship with Aldi over the past 18 months - was quick to praise the move and the local authority’s economic development boss Belinda Miller said: “This is great news for Peterhead.
“To have the prospect of a brand new Aldi on this prominent gateway site, bringing competition and choice for local shoppers, will provide a real boost for the community.
“And, with the prospect of 30 new jobs for local people as well as important construction jobs, this will be a shot in the arm for the local economy.”
Buchan Area Manager, Chris White, added: “The pace of progress in Peterhead is significantly increasing at the moment and it is good to see the development industry starting to make the most of the town’s potential.”