BUSINESSES in Barrhead town centre have raised concerns over the impact a new retail park could have on their trade.

London & Scottish Developments are to transform the former site of the Nestlé Purina factory in Glasgow Road, with construction beginning next year.

The £15million project will include a new Lidl store to replace the existing outlet in Kelburn Street, as well as the arrival of discount retailer B&M and two drive-thrus, one of which will be a Burger King.

There will also be a number of smaller retail units, with developers hailing it as a “great opportunity” for Barrhead.

But some shop owners in the town centre fear they will suffer as a result.

Kirsty Black, co-owner of MacPhees Sandwich Bar, in Main Street, said many traders believe the retail park is “a bad idea” for Barrhead.

She told the Barrhead News: “Initially, when it is being built, it will be good for us because you’ll have the workies coming in to get their lunch but, generally, I don’t think it is a good idea.

“Businesses in Barrhead have suffered enough, especially over the last three or four months. To then add another shopping centre, as well as having Silverburn, it just damages business for all of us.

“I know people will say it will create jobs but it will deplete jobs for the local businesses. I just don’t think we need it.”

Rosemarie McInally, chair of Barrhead Community Council, has also voiced concern about the retail park “taking away business” from the town centre.

She said: “Some of the smaller shops may have to shut down. We have seen it all before. Developers open these out-of-town places and the towns nearest it suffer.”

East Renfrewshire Council rubber-stamped the retail park plans last month.

Gillian McCarney, the council’s head of environment and chief planning officer, pointed out that Barrhead town centre is already “vibrant,” with few units that are vacant.
She said: “This is a major application and, in terms of the development of this site, it is supported.

“As a council, we had a retail consulate to look at the retailing impact and, within the report, we have done our own assessment in relation to the development and the potential impact on Barrhead town centre.

“We consider that there will be a loss of 12 per cent of all goods, which would equate to food shopping. This means a 12 per cent impact on existing food retailers in the town centre and a five per cent comparison, which is non-food retailing.

“However, it should be noted that this impact includes the current Lidl store, which will be relocated and therefore the impact on the town centre and other shops would actually be less.”