LINLITHGOW shoppers are getting their clubcards ready as plans to extend the local Tesco were in the bag this week.
Drivers also received a bumper boost as an extra 64 parking spaces will be created in a single storey decked car park next to the Regent Centre.
West Lothian Council voted to extend the Tesco store by 12,000 square feet, increasing it by a third, and up the car parking from 244 to 308 spaces, approving the plans from the Learmonth Property Investment Company, owners of the Regent Centre.
Ronnie Urquhart of Learmonth Property said: “This will benefit Linlithgow and help maintain the Regent Centre and the town centre of Linlithgow. I believe the smaller shopkeepers will be breathing a sigh of relief.
‘’We are delighted to have received the support of West Lothian Council and I commend the chairman of the development committee for his straightforward approach.”
But potential Burghmuir developers Wallace Land were accused of putting a spanner in the works by suggesting the Regent Centre plans required an Environmental Impact Assessment, although this had been considered unnecessary by West Lothian Council. They have asked for a ruling on this by the Scottish Government.
Mr Urquhart called the move “legal posturing” saying: “I don’t believe the Scottish ministers will be overturning this democratically approved decision. I am 100 per cent committed this will go ahead once these legal formalities are dealt with.”
It is thought Scottish ministers will make a ruling in the next three weeks and, if the council decision is upheld, work will begin in spring 2014.
The 12,000 square feet extension to Tesco will take up some of the current short stay car park to the east of the shop, and will incorporate two retail units, Energie Fitness, which will be relocated, and the former RS McColl shop. Tesco will extend south into what is currently the service yard but existing pedestrian access to the High Port and Back Station Road will remain.
A rcent retail impact study for West Lothian Council assessed the impact of the Tesco extension and the proposed supermarket at Burghmuir.
The report stated that the Linlithgow store would be greatly improved by the extension, as Tesco was currently undertrading.
Following this week’s decision, Iain Paton of Linlithgow Civic Trust added: “The approval of the Regent Centre is very welcome.
‘‘This should benefit the town centre. There is no capacity for any further supermarkets in Linlithgow and we expect the Burghmuir application will be withdrawn or refused.”
The council report added that the Wallace Land plans for Burghmuir would be “considered on its own merits” and is due to be decided at a West Lothian Council meeting on April 17.
This week, Falkirk Council maintained its objections to a supermarket at Burghmuir - see p2.