Tesco insists new Cupar store will go ahead

Tesco superstore in Bathgate, West Lothian. Supermarket, retailer, grocer, food, economy, profits. for special reports
Tesco superstore in Bathgate, West Lothian. Supermarket, retailer, grocer, food, economy, profits. for special reports

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has confirmed it has not shelved plans for a new store in Cupar.

Speculation has been mounting in Cupar over the future of the development in South Road following months of inactivity on the site.

Tesco was granted permission for the new store nearly two years ago, but apart from demolishing the former Reekie’s garage no work other work has taken place.

The Fife Herald was told ‘enabling works’ should have started at the start of this year after completion of the new access ramp at the railway station.

However, this week Tesco spokesman Doug Wilson moved to quash rumours Tesco was set to pull out in favour of planned new stores in both Leven and Glenrothes.

He said: “Our plans for Cupar, the new employment opportunities and improved shopping experience this will bring will not be affected by other schemes in Fife.

“Our schemes in neighbouring towns demonstrate our commitment to further investment in Fife.”

Mr Wilson went on to say Tesco should start building work this summer, completing the store by spring next year.

After almost six years of planning, Tesco was granted permission to build the larger store on the Reekie’s site in May 2009.

The application, which said it would bring 250 jobs to Cupar, provoked a storm of controversy with accusations that its non-food side would take much-needed businesses from town centre traders.

Approval was granted subject to a number of extra conditions, including a restriction on delivery times and a change in the ratio of food to non-food items sold from 60-40 to 65-35.

Under the conditions of consent, Tesco will be required to limit deliveries to between 6am and 11pm, abide by a 65-35 per cent food/non-food split and stick to its current opening times.

If it wanted to become a 24-hour operation it would have to seek formal approval.

At the time Cupar councillor Margaret Kennedy insisted an additional condition be imposed that Tesco provide suitable landscaping around the Crichton memorial statue.

While comments were made during the discussion about the siting of the new store, deliveries and car park security, none of the councillors raised the issue of traffic lights on South Road, a point which has been almost as contentious as the store itself.