ARBROATH finally received some good economic news this week when it was revealed that a major retailer was to open in the town.
ASDA have announced plans to build a new store on three plots of land at the Westway retail park.
A company spokesperson confirmed that the retail giant had begun construction of a store on the site.
This has ended 14 years of rumour and speculation as to what might become of the empty plots.
It also could not come at a better time for the embattled retail park, on the back of recent closures by Acorn Pets and the decision by Focus last week to close their store after going into administration.
Work began last Monday as contractors BAM erected fencing and excavated the ground in preparation for the project.
Angus Council has given planning permission for three plots of ground to be developed, two at 10,000 square feet and one at 16,000 square feet.
According to ASDA, the store will have 20,000 square feet for sales, with car parking planned for 209 spaces.
The store will carry a full range of products, including ASDA Price, George, and all the familiar brand names customers will expect.
A completion date for the store was given as mid to late November, with recruitment and a more general advertising campaign beginning approximately four months before the store opens.
Based on the size of the planned store, an ASDA spokesperson told the Herald: “We would be looking to fill approximately 150 to 200 full and part-time jobs.”
Councillor David Fairweather was delighted to hear that the troubled retail park would play host to the new store.
He said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to hear the news.
“Eighteen months ago I put in a motion to allow a supermarket to be built there, and I am delighted that after all those years of speculation, the opportunity is being given to developers to build there.”
Councillor Fairweather added: “When I put forward the motion, I was ably supported by Councillor Jim Millar who spoke on the day for the supermarket, as did Councillor [Peter] Nield, and I would also like to thank the members of the development standards committee who voted to support the motion.”
He referred to the fate of the previously unused plots and attempts to get ASDA to build as a “long-running saga”.
Councillor Fairweather felt that in spite of recent closures, the opening of new and the expansion of existing businesses in the town, were all positive signs.
He added: “I saw a letter in the Herald recently, talking about the doom and gloom in Arbroath, and I have to say I don’t agree.
“Councillors have been working very hard to see Arbroath on the way up, and with ASDA now coming in, our work is paying off. Things are looking up for the town.”