Cupar businesses voice concerns over retail park

Plans for a retail park were given the green light last month.
Plans for a retail park were given the green light last month.

Business owners in Cupar have voiced concerns after plans to build a retail park in the town were approved.

Councillors gave plans for a retail park on the derelict site next to Tesco the green light at a meeting a couple of weeks ago – a decision which received a mixed reaction.

Cupar Community Council chair Gina Logan and Sustainable Cupar both criticised the decision, and now the town’s business association, ABCD, has also expressed concerns about the retail park.

They fear the new shops will drag people away from the town centre and could offer services already available in Cupar.

“ABCD welcomes an increase in the number of businesses in Cupar but is concerned that this development draws people away from the centre of the town,” explained Alison Strachan, chair of the group.

“If the units at the new retail park are occupied by businesses which increase the range of goods and services available in the town and bring with them new local jobs it will be a positive development.

“There is real concern however, amongst some of our members, that some of the units will be occupied by businesses which replicate what is on offer centrally, with the advantage of parking at their doors.”

Ms Strachan added: “ABCD initially supported the development of the site although made representation for an hotel there, rather than retail units, believing that would be more beneficial to the town, but objected to the revised application for a different configuration with major worries about the design of the road entrance to the park and how another exit onto that stretch of road will work/be safe.

“There is also concern about connectivity and signage to the town centre from the site.”

Some of the councillors at the planning meeting did make comments about the impact the retail park could have on the town centre.

Cllr Jonny Tepp feared it would be “another nail in the coffin” of the high street, while Cllr Linda Holt said they did not want to do anything that would “threaten” it.

Work is expected to start on the site in spring 2019.

The occupier line-up is currently being finalised.