Fifteen months after applying to build in the Westbourne Centre, the discount food chain has been granted planning permission.

Following a long drawn out battle with East Renfrewshire Council and an appeal to the Scottish Executive Reporter, LIDL aims to open its doors as soon as possible.

Jubilant supermarket bosses confirmed yesterday that they plan to open the cut price store by spring next year. A 13,000 square foot store is planned, employing between 10 and 25 full and part-time staff, with 80 to 100 car parking spaces.

Stunned by the Reporter’s ruling, council bosses say they are still considering the decision but the supporters of the superstore’s move to Barrhead, say the decision was ‘a victory for common sense’.

Locals have long campaigned for a discount store in the Kelburn Street centre.

LIDL’s application was supported by a 500 signature petition from shoppers, the Westbourne Traders’ Association, nearby Dalmeny Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, and Bill McCort, owner of the Westbourne Centre.

They believe the new store will help regenerate the centre, offer shoppers a better choice, and provide the smaller shops with spin off business.

Bill McCort, owner of the Westbourne Centre, welcomed the decision, but hit out at the council for the delay.

He said: “The decision is a victory for common sense over authoritarian bureaucracy. It is a triumph over the council’s apparent preference to do nothing rather than encourage the much needed revitalisation of the town.

“Why should it take 15 months to reach the stage which should have been reached by a commercially aware council in three months? Why should commercial and business interests have to struggle so hard against the odds?” He added: “The way is now clear for the people and town of Barrhead to benefit from the commercial investment by LIDL, and it would be hoped that following this, further commercial interest can be attracted.” Barrhead’s councillors were more reserved in welcoming the news.

Councillor Eddie Phillips, whose remit covers economic development, said: “Obviously I want to see the full proposals before I can fully comment, but clearly anything that brings extra jobs to the area and ensures that livelihoods are protected will find favour.” The dispute wasn’t over the development in general, but access to the store.

Lidl proposed creating another arm off the roundabout on Cross Arthurlie Street for customers entering the store, with shoppers leaving through the general exit on Kelburn Street, already used by Tesco and other stores.

Road experts, JMP, hired by Lidl, came up with a scheme of traffic signals which they said could cope with the extra exit on the roundabout.