Tesco pull out of regeneration plans and new store for North Street, Glenrothes
Supermarket giants Tesco have announced they will not be building a supermarket in Glenrothes.
The announcement adds a new twist the decade-long saga which now leaves major town centre redevelopment plans in tatters and with it the broken promise of over 400 much needed jobs to the region.
In a statement Adam Williams, Tesco’s corporate affairs spokesman said: “We have made the decision not to proceed with a new store in Glenrothes.
“This was a difficult decision and one not taken lightly.
‘‘We have undertaken a detailed review of all our new store requirements in the area and the decision was made in light of the current economic climate and changing shopping habits.
“I know it will be a disappointing one to many within the local community and we are grateful for their support for our plans.”
There was widespread condemnation from politicians following the announcement which came despite the retail giant recently securing final planning approval for the multi-million pound store which was to unlock redevelopment plans in the North Street area of the town.
Councillor John Beare told the Gazette: “I am deeply disappointed, but not surprised by the decision of Tesco.
“They have treated this town and its residents disgracefully for more than a decade as they played their corporate games.
“The impact on both, the YMCA and the CISWO, who have put their development plans on hold waiting for these supermarket giants to reach a decision, is immeasurable.
Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy echoed those sentiments saying: “Tesco have behaved in a disgraceful manner, not only towards the people of Glenrothes, but to the many council and community representatives who tried so hard to bring the company to our town.
“They promised regularly that they were just finalising their plans to build a new store which would bring hundreds of jobs and help revitalise Glenrothes Town Centre.
“However, it is apparent that their assurances were empty and that we have been strung along for years.
“Deadline after deadline has been missed. Given their lack of commitment and impetus, I am not surprised by the decision but I am angry that the people of Glenrothes have been treated in such a shabby way.”
It was in 2001 that Tesco first unveiled proposals to come to Glenrothes, but they never came to fruition.
Sainsbury’s then revealed that it wanted to set up in the town centre and, in February 2010, set out their stall for the store, but last year Tesco suddenly emerged as the ‘preferred bidder’ of CIS-AXA.
Both firms held exhibitions in the town centre to show people their plans, but although Sainsbury’s insisted it was still interested in coming to Glenrothes, the only proposals lodged with the council have been connected to the Tesco development.
Councillor Peter Grant said: “People are entitled to think we have been let down.
“The former owners are not without blame. They ditched their discussions with Sainsburys because Tesco offered more money, CIS AXA have a lot of explaining to do as well. If only they had honoured the agreement with Sainsburys and the Council that was close to being finalised, all three gave the impression they were ready to sign - we will never know.” With the debacle leaving the Council’s town centre regeneration plans in limbo, the Gazette can revealthat council leaders are to hold urgent discussions with Mars Holdings, the new owners of the Kingdom Shopping Centre, on Friday to seek a new direction for the much maligned development project.
Glenrothes councillors are looking to the future with optimism in the wake of the announcement from Tesco.
Councillor Peter Grant said: “I think people are entitled to think we have been let down.
“I wonder now if the big step to take is to say ‘We’re not going to have one of the big High Street names in our town’?
“We need to find a way to create a vision for the town centre and make it so that it doesn’t rely on the social responsibility of a major company that haven’t acted in a socially responsible way.
“Should we give up on all the big supermarkets and go for something that will better serve the people of Glenrothes?
“I’m confident that we can come up with a vision and plan ahead to get us the town centre we have been crying out for over 40 years.
“It’s up to us to show that we can run a town centre without being held to ransom.
Glenrothes Area Committee chair Altany Craik reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to finding companies willing to invest in the town centre.
“It is deeply disappointing to hear that a big development like the Tesco store will not be progressed,” he said.
“This would have given a much needed boost to the town centre and I’m sure the local community will also share this disappointment.
“The council is still committed to attracting a retail operator to this prime location in the town.
“We will pull everyone together now to explore possible alternative plans and will now review the Glenrothes town centre action plan and work with the new owners of the Kingdom Centre.”