Traders air concern over Tesco plan

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LEVEN traders have reacted swiftly to fresh moves from Tesco to build a supermarket in the town.

The store giant has teamed up with Pfaudler-Balfour parent firm Robbins and Myres UK to lodge a planning bid with Fife Council.

It is seeking permission to build a new retail store, access, car parking, servicing and landscaping, at land to the south of the Pfaudler-Balfour site in Leven’s Riverside Road.

The proposals also involve the partial demolition of an industrial building.

Leven Business Association has already tabled a series of concerns with Fife Council, following a survey of members’ views in recent months and a consultation meeting with Tesco last year.

Town centre shopkeepers feared the pledge of more jobs being created may prove hollow.

“We would argue that previous claims from supermakets and DIY stores, such as Sainsbury’s and Focus, have not really transpired,” said LBA.

“All that has happened is many suppliers in the same industry that are local have either gone out of business or scaled back, due to the decrease in demand.

LBA also doubted why anyone from outside the town would visit Tesco in Leven, with the chain already having stores in Kirkcaldy and Cupar and another planned for Glenrothes.

It added Leven’s High Street was suffering with more centralisation at the Riverside retail park, while Tesco profits were unlikely to be invested locally.

The traders also asked Fife Council to bolt on some conditions if Tesco’s bid was approved.

These included improvements to the High Street, a weekend shuttle service paid for by Tesco to ferry people to the High Street and restrictions on what Tesco could sell, to protect local traders from direct competition.

Tesco’s corporate affairs manger Doug Wilson previously said the Leven plans would create over 160 full and part-time job opportunities and offer shoppers “choice and value for money”.

Pfaudler-Balfour general manager Mark Goldsmith said the investment, if approved, would secure the future of the “historic company” and ensure it could upgrade its plant and equipment.