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Supermarket agreed despite busy road concerns

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Supermarket agreed despite busy road concerns

DEVELOPERS behind a new Co-op supermarket for Lochmaben have offered to work with the council to improve road safety in the town.

Sansec Developments Ltd were this week given the go-ahead by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee 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 store on road safety, highlighting the amount of traffic already using the A709.

Annandale North Cllr Stephen Thompson said: “One thing that was a concern, and has been for some time, was about safe access to the site for pedestrians. People have to cross the street to get there somehow.

“So really the key concern is about having a safe way for pedestrians to access the shop and cross the road.”

Objector Brenda Proctor also addressed the committee on road matters, saying: “Traffic is really heavy, there’s great big timber wagons and it’s very difficult anyway to cross the road because there’s a bend where traffic comes both ways. It’s not safe.”

Responding, Sansec agent Ben Harvey said 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.”

Committee chairman Cllr Jim Dempster expressed hopes the firm would keep that pledge and said: “It would be disappointing if an undertaking made in public is then declined at a later date.”

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

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