Store Wars: Round three

KIRKCALDY;'disused b&q
KIRKCALDY;'disused b&q
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COUNCILLORS will take their closest look yet at Morrisons’ plans to build a store at Invertiel next week.

The application from the supermarket chain will go before the planning committee on Tuesday - stage three of the process which started some 18 months ago.

Morrisons are promising 330 jobs and pledged to recruit at least three-quarters of the workforce from the local area.

Their £25m plans to build on the site of the old B & Q are seen as the catalyst to regenerating Invertiel - and have become one of the most debated issues in the town in recent years.

Last month supporters and several community groups packed into the Adam Smith Theatre to speak up in favour of the development which has already been given the nod to proceed by Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

Opposition

But Morrisons faces opposition from the owners of The Mercat who say their plans to expand the shopping centre will be compromised if it is approved.

And last week, Kirkcaldy4All spoke on the issue for the first time - and branded the Invertiel project ‘‘disastrous’’ for town centre retailers.

It feared a second downturn in the High Street economy if Morrisons got the go-ahead to open at Seafield.

But this week the company stressed it would have a positive impact on the town.

Andrew Wood, development executive with Morrisons, said: “The planning process has been encouraging so far and we hope for a positive result on Tuesday.

‘‘ We are very pleased that our plans have been so well received by the Kirkcaldy Area Committee and at the pre determination hearing, and are keen to start work as soon as we can to provide the jobs and investment that the town needs. If approved, this phase of development could make a difference with a site start this year, and a 2012 store opening.”

He added: “We want to see and be part of a healthy and buoyant town. We have been looking for a suitable location to build a new Morrisons store in Kirkcaldy for over 10 years and after choosing the only available site capable of developing a full format Morrisons offer we are committed to helping revitalise the area.

‘‘We also look to train more than 12,000 apprentices in 2011 makingus the UK’s largest provider of modern apprenticeships - we have more skilled butchers, bakers and fishmongers working in store than any other supermarket so there should be plenty of opportunities for Kirkcaldy’s young people to learn new, real transferable skills to enable them to progress within the company.

‘‘We are confident that this scheme, in this location, will be a real asset to the wider community of Invertiel, Linktown and Kirkcaldy.”

The proposed store would also include a petrol station, and would be intended as phase one of a regeneration of the seafront gateway which has been derelict for many years.