Aberdeenshire Council has rebuffed claims by Aldi that a deal has been struck for the purchase of the supermarket giant’s derelict site in Peterhead.
On Tuesday, July 30, the German firm released a statement saying it had now accepted an offer the council made several months ago.
A spokesman for Aldi told the Buchan Observer: “Given the public interest in this prominent site, we now look forward to progressing the deal through to a swift conclusion with the council which should lead the way for the site to be developed.”
However, council leaders denied any such agreement had been made for the Kirkburn Mill site, which has lain empty for a number of years.
Aldi quickly hit back at the council’s position, with a s spokesman saying: “We are surprised and disappointed both with the nature of this announcement but also since the council’s offer was made after their extensive ground investigation work and the considerable expense to the council associated with it.”
But Aberdeenshire Council is standing firm and disputes any implication that considerable expense had been incurred and therefore it is in the public interest to purchase the land.
A spokesman said: “We have never made a formal offer for the Kirkburn Mills site, but had discussed terms with Aldi’s agent and any deal was subject to an acceptable geo-environmental site report.
“The report indicated a substantial amount of money would be required to prepare the site for development, dependent on use, and this would drastically reduce its value.
“There are other potential costs associated with the site, another reason why the council has made no agreement with Aldi to buy it.”
The spokesman did however indicate discussions about the future of the site on the edge of Peterhead town centre are ongoing.
Aldi’s disputed announcement about Kirkburn Mill came on the same day members of the Buchan area committee backed plans to build the council’s new multimillion-pound headquarters - for which the Aldi site was considered - on a site 300 metres away.
Aldi originally purchased the Kirkburn Mill site in 2007 and had planned to develop it into a retail park.
The discount chain shelved those plans last year, however, and has been looking to off-load the land ever since.
In the past local residents have expressed concern about the one-acre plot as it has be the site of several incidents of vandalism.
A derelict house which sits on the landed - believed to have be used by homeless people - was set alight in 2010 and is now boarded up.