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Burgh supermarket concerns raised

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By Christie Breen
Burgh supermarket concerns raised

RESIDENTS in Lochmaben have set up a Facebook page to share their opinions about the proposed Co-op.

The page named ‘Should Lochmaben cooperate with the Co-op’ was set up earlier this week for villagers to voice their opinions about the proposed store.

Sansec Developments Ltd were given the go-ahead by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee last month to construct a new store at 20 Bruce Street.

However, before agreeing the planning permission, councillors discussed concerns locally about the impact of a new supermarket on road safety, highlighting the amount of traffic already using the A709.

At the meeting, Sansec agent Ben Harvey stated they accepted that pedestrian safety was “of paramount importance” and that they had looked into constructing a crossing on the A709.

However, it was deemed to be impossible due to the existing road arrangements.

Mr Harvey said: “It’s not possible to widen the road any further, or the pavements. That’s further complicated by the matter of how traffic gravitates towards the centre of Lochmaben and ultimately the road network has a pinch point as you go past The Crown.

“A crossing in this location was found to focus traffic to a point it’s then shuffling and pedestrians too and that in itself is a problem.”

But he added: “We are more than happy to help in other ways and we understand that there’s aspirations for a speed reduction in the area. If we can help implement that by way of signage introduction as part of the process that’s absolutely great, we will certainly be part of that.

“We have before, on other schemes, included a financial contribution towards the erection of posts and signage which ultimately forms the introduction of speed restrictions.”

The elected members ultimately backed the supermarket bid and said there were no valid planning reasons to turn it down.

Some residents have had reservations about the project since the beginning.

The page is the latest attempt by concerned residents to give their input following a petition and six objections lodged.

Fears include issues about roads and access, customer parking, the design of the new shop, the impact on neighbours and noise.

One concerned citizen wrote: “I am most concerned that Lochmaben people should be consulted in this planning decision which has mostly been made in what seems like secrecy without any advertising of the intention apart from information online which was not easy to find. In fact you needed to know it was there or you wouldn’t look for it.”

Another Lochmaben resident wrote: “Their chosen location is one of the most difficult in Lochmaben. The road is narrow with slim pavements which will barely accommodate two walkers.

“It is already a dangerous place for cyclists when residents have their cars parked on the roadside.

“Cyclists sometimes choose to cycle on the pavement as the safer option. Adding a Co-op store to this scenario does not make sense.”