TESCO will be hoping that “every little helps’’ as plans to extend the Linlithgow store and create a single storey decked car park were lodged this week.
The Learmonth Property Investment Company, owners of the Regent Centre, submitted planning applications with West Lothian Council to extend the food store to the front and back and create an extra 75 car parking spaces for shoppers.
The single storey 12,000 square feet extension, increasing the size of the Tesco store by about a third, would take up some of the current short stay car park at the east of the shop and would incorporate two existing retail units.
It would extend southwards into what is currently the service yard. Existing pedestrian access to the High Port and Back Station Road would remain.
There are 244 vehicle parking spaces currently on the site but, by realigning spaces, and constructing the decked car park there could be 319 to choose from.
Similar plans were lodged by the Learmonth Property Investment Company last year when a two-deck car park was on the cards.
Bruce McCallum, chairman of Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council, said: “We understand that the current application by Learmonth Property Investment Company for work to the Regent Centre is an administrative restructuring of the application made in June, taking on board many of the comments expressed regarding the proposed two deck car park.
“The fact that Learmonth and, presumably, Tesco are actively pursuing this project is reassuring to all those who wish to see the focus of shopping in Linlithgow remaining in the High Street.
‘‘Any investment by a major retailer at this time is widely welcomed, especially if it will create more jobs.”
He added that the community council would want to ensure the proposals would benefit the town, and fit in with its historic character.
It is widely hoped the Regent Centre plans would keep more people shopping locally.
Iain Paton of Linlithgow Civic Trust added: “The trust is strongly in favour of the Tesco extension and car park.
“This will add significantly to the attraction of the town centre as a shopping destination, benefiting other businesses with linked shopping trips within walking distance, and it is in the most sustainable location.”
But Linlithgow councillor Martyn Day was sceptical as to whether the plans would ever materialise.
He said: “There are a lot of positives here - there is a need for additional car parking in the town but this would need to be done sensitively. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
“But I do question if this is a genuine application and if the company actually intends to develop this.
‘‘Or is this a tactical application to try and prevent competition from another application?
‘‘Council planners must determine this on its own merits but I cannot help but speculate.”
Cooper Cromar, agents for the Learmonth Property Investment Company, did not comment any further on the details.
Comments on the proposals can now be made to West Lothian Council and the earliest a decision will be made is March 9.
*IN other planning news for Linlithgow, the proposed supermarket for the controversial Burghmuir development has been reduced by a third, from nearly 60,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet in a recent report.
Retail impact and air quality assessments regarding this application have now been made public, and can be viewed on West Lothian Council’s website or at the County Buildings in Linlithgow.
More news on this application is expected next week.