Aldi were last week granted permission for a store on a 2.37 acres site at Maxwelltown Industrial Estate — but the decision by council officials under delegated powers has prompted questions, as well as concerns about the impact on a neighbouring ambulance station.
Hailing the granting of permission on the site of former newspaper offices at Cuckoo Bridge on the A75 bypass, Aldi Stores property director Andy Doyle said: “We are
delighted with the decision and are very excited about bringing our second store to Dumfries and further details will be released in due course.
“We are very grateful for all the interest and support we have received.”
The decision to approve the second store was made by Dumfries and Galloway Council officials last Thursday under delegated powers, and not by elected councillors.
Dumfries Retailers Association chairman Rab Smith said: “It’s just going to take more people out of the town centre, and it’s going to be bad for the town centre.”
Arguing there were alternative sites in the centre of town, he notes that no elected members had a final say on the bid, and said: “That really worries me. I don’t know how they’ve managed that.”
The concerns are echoed by Nith Ward councillor Jack Groom, who said: “I think more transparency would have been helpful on this. It never came before councillors, and I’m sure most councillors would be disappointed that it didn’t come before them in planning.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council say permission was granted without councillors’ input as no objections were received to the plan.
Councillor Colin Smyth said: “There is no doubt that some people will be concerned at the impact of any out of town development on the town centre but surprisingly there wasn’t a single objection to the proposal, only lots of support.
“I’m a bit surprised the Retailers Association didn’t put forward an objection.”
The supermarket falls within the ward of Councillor Graham Bell. He has repeated his concerns about the impact on ambulance services onto and off the estate where an ambulance station is sited.
In their application, Aldi state that vehicular access will use the same service road serving the estate.
Councillor Bell said: “What concerns me is the road safety and traffic issues as that’s a very busy roundabout and at peak times of the day cars can hardly get out on the A75 so I have real concerns about pedestrian safety in that area.
“I just hope that the roads people have been consulted in this and a proper traffic management scheme put in place.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service did not lodge an objection to the plan, and have yet to comment on the supermarket go-ahead.