So, our suspicions this week have proven correct. ASDA will not be rebuilding Clydeview Shopping Centre or building large new units. (anytime soon)
Following our concerns this week seeing paths and kerbs being laid with no building foundations constructed and seeing how evasive ASDA was being in describing their plans, we decided to investigate for ourselves. This stemmed from alarm caused by rumours amongst ASDA staff suggesting that ASDA were abandoning building the new retail units but of course, we wanted to know for sure.
And we found the proof! On South Lanarkshire Council’s planning portal, we found that ASDA resubmitted revised drawings and plans as recently as 24th September 2018. Of surprise, and contrary to what ASDA management had told our community organisations, the area will now be landscaped over, with no large units built in the immediate future, making room for a larger carpark and building only one small pod, which will be relocated beside Greggs. This small unit, which will now house Timpsons, makes way for an extended ASDA foyer.
Revised plans were approved by SLC planning on 10th October 2018, coinciding with an immediate start on site and the removal of demolition hoarding.
Blantyre Telegraph is shocked at the lack of consultation or communication with the people of Blantyre, local organisations, Community Council and interested stakeholders, especially given the sentiment of most residents towards the old redundant units being replaced. In our opinion, this blatant u-turn is nothing short of contempt for local people, looking forward to enhanced shopping experiences and who have put their loyalty into shopping at the Blantyre store for almost over 36 years.
Doing the right thing
We have now written to ASDA for comment and to provide an explanation, especially if they still intend to build the units in future. Ducts have been “future proofed” into the ground. We hope more official organisations like Blantyre Community Council, Local Councillors and Political groups in Ward 15 also make similar approaches to ASDA for some answers.
ASDA is still the most popular store in Blantyre, used by thousands of individuals in the town for food, clothing and hard goods. Prices are competitive even with LIDL and Farmfoods on their doorstep. Its central location is handy for most folk too and parking is adequate and accessible. It seems bizarre that an open, public back-track of promises would be made by such a large and well known company.
Asda may think that landscaping open this area draws nice views from the carpark down to the park, but at what expense? Driving out several small businesses from those previous units? Blantyre already has a large open park. As a town, we need more retail choice and support of small business. As a suggestion, a cheaper compromise we’re sure people would accept would be to allow the new, flat hard landscaping to be used for a regular Blantyre market with stalls.
Asda were unavailable for comment, stating the right person to speak to was on holiday. Perhaps the units are postponed or delayed? We need answers. We need ASDA to issue a statement. There may be a longer term plan afoot and they deserve the chance to comment on this or communicate it properly. The ducts have been put in so clearly there will be something built in future. They wouldn’t go to that trouble otherwise. We have heard that the building of the units may be linked to demand and with HIgh Street shops so volatile at the moment, this may be a reason to delay or phase in the remainder of the construction.
So today, we openly challenge their decision to landscape over this prominent area as being not in the best interests of the people of Blantyre and whilst recognise ASDA as a private business who owns this land, we would urge the company to rethink or reverse the decision and do the right thing and build the units promised as quickly as possible.
We’re all for this development to progress and fully support it, but their PR dept seems to have been sleeping all though this. Some communication PLEASE Asda! Your shoppers would like to simply know whats going on without having to pour through complex revisions on a planning portal!
More on the revised plans can be found here:
Have your say. Do you know more about ASDA’s long term plans? Do you know what may have prompted the u-turn? Can more be done?