New lease of life in store for Tesco site

The site in Cupar
The site in Cupar

Cupar could be in line for a new shopping development following the sale of land in South Road by the retail giant Tesco.

The supermarket chain has sold the site next to its store to Glasgow-based property company London & Scottish Investments, confirming an earlier decision to shelve plans for a new superstore .

And this week a spokesperson for the new owners revealed that the site is ‘likely to be for mixed retail use’.

The spokesperson said, however, that proposals were still at an early stage and were subject to approval by Fife Council.

The Cupar site is one of 14 throughout Scotland to be sold by Tesco and Bryan Wilson, group development director at London & Scottish Investments, said: “We are delighted to announce this purchase, which is fantastic news for the towns involved.

“We now look forward to meeting with council leaders and planning officers to discuss and review our plans for the economic redevelopment of these sites.

“We would expect that a significant number of jobs will be created as a result.”

However, local councillors are urging the developers to consider using the land for housing, amid what they say is a ‘pressing need’ in Cupar.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy said: “I am pleased that we now have clarity on what Tesco’s involvement is re the site.

“I have already expressed, to the new owners, my hope that they will respect the aspiration in the town that the site is developed for housing.

“I also hope that the new owners will meet soon with the community and start to form how the site can be developed. It has lain dormant for far too long.”

Councillor Karen Marjoram said: “There is a pressing need to have more affordable homes in the town, and my personal preference would be to have this land used for that purpose if at all possible. “

She added: “This news then confirms the fact that there will not be a new bigger Tesco coming to Cupar at that site, which in no way surprises me.”

Tesco first got planning permission to build a new 50,000 sq ft superstore on the site in 2009, but never fulfilled its plans and it has remained vacant ever since.

As Tesco’s financial woes mounted and 43 UK outlets closed, it finally confirmed in May that the expansion would not now take place.

Instead, it plans to refurbish its existing Cupar store later this year or early in 2016.

A spokesman for Tesco said this week: “Since we took the difficult decision not to build a new store, we have been actively seeking a purchaser.

“We share the community’s ambition to see the land brought into use. We remain extremely grateful for the support our plans for the site received. Today’s announcement will help move forward the development of the land.”