The case for keeping Tesco’s Kirkcaldy store open has been put to the man at the top - Dave Lewis,
The chief executive of the troubled retail giant met in London today with Gordon Brown MP, and Councillors David Ross and Neil Crooks, leader of Fife Council and chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee respectively.
They put a clear business case to him that the store had a positive future in the heart of the town, and more talks are planned in a bid to postpone the proposed April 4 closure date.
The politicians also secured agreement with Tesco that the Post Office would be able to stay where it is in-store until the lease expires at the end of the year.
This will give the Post Office time to find a new town centre location - several local businesses have come forward to discuss hosting the key community facility.
Mr Brown said they had put ‘‘a strong case’’ for the Kirkcaldy store to the chief executive.
He said: ‘‘“We have shown Tesco how they could save nearly £1million.
“We have shown them that far from Kirkcaldy being a declining market, it is growing and we have given Tesco the evidence that the town with just under 60,000 people - 59,796 in 2013 - will continue to grow.
“The market they are proposing to abandon is about to see 5,000 more homes built and there will be a rise from under 30,000 households - 29,426 in 2013 to more than 33,000 after an addition of 3,850 new households. There will be six households for every five today.
“And we have shown Tesco that in Kirkcaldy centre - where 5,000 people live - 37% of households within the Central Multi-Member Ward do not have access to a car or van; a higher percentage than the Fife and Scottish averages of 25.6% and 30.5%. It will be difficult for current customers to access the nearest Tesco store to Kirkcaldy, which is a Tesco Metro at Cardenden six miles away.’’
He also welcomed the positive news over the Post office - an issue he had raised directly with the PO when news of the store closure broke several weeks ago.
“Tesco has agreed that the main Kirkcaldy Post Office will be offered the chance to remain on its site in the town centre for the time being while the council’s other proposals for Tesco to stay are examined.
““The nearest main Post Office is 7.5 miles away in Glenrothes. There is a concern Kirkcaldy would be reduced to sub Post Offices and no main Post Office, but now Tesco has agreed to help the Post Office who will look for new franchise holder.
“I am pleased that there will continue to be a main post office in the town centre and that Tesco will allow it to continue for the time being on their site.
“Fife council leader David Ross said: “We are ready to enter into any discussions that could retain Tesco and help keep the town centre vibrant.”