German supermarket giant Aldi is finally on its way to Peterhead after bosses unveiled plans to develop their derelict Kirkburn Mill site.
The Buchan Observer can exclusively reveal that work on a ‘modern, single storey food store’ with car parking will begin by the end of 2015.
The development will also bring with it dozens new jobs for the people of Peterhead.
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.
Now Aldi’s Scotland Director of Property, Graham Nicolson has told the paper: “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 in Scotland.
“Scots shoppers love the brand – nowhere more so than in Aberdeenshire where we are set to open two new stores later this year 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.”
The new store will take the most modern supermarket format and will include space for shopper car parking and ‘associated landscaping’.
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.”
Last year Aberdeenshire Council and Aldi traded blows in the press - the supermarket suggested the council had purchased the land from them but the local authority were quick to rebuff the statement.
When Aldi hit back at the council’s position, they were told that any agreement to buy the land was not in the public interest.
This latest announcement has therefore proven popular with all parties and local councillors are expected to throw their weight behind the plan soon.
Should plans be approved it is anticipated that work could begin towards the end of 2015.