Hopes that a promised pre-Christmas investment and jobs bonanza that would see a retail unit on the Angus/Dundee border “ready to trade over the Christmas season” have been dashed, with one local councillor describing the situation as “extremely disappointing”.
An application to Angus planning chiefs by Dobbies for its Monifieth ‘House of Angus’ retail unit outlined an investment of around £700,000, bringing with it the creation of up to 40 jobs.
In September, a spokesperson for Dobbies said: “We have received planning consent from Angus Council to transform the existing House of Angus at Dobbies in Dundee.
“We are working towards having the centre ready to trade over the Christmas season.”
However, the building remains vacant with no apparent shop fitting being carried out, making it highly unlikely that the outlet will be operational with Christmas less than four weeks away.
The garden centre giant has remained tight lipped on the situation, and declined to give any indication of timescales.
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The outlet opened in 1999 and saw a number of local and household names trade from the venue including farm shop Gray Retail Ltd, luggage specialist Antler and soap and fragrance manufacturer Arran Aromatics.
However, by the time House of Angus ceased to operate earlier this year, just two firms were trading in the building.
Monifieth and Sidlaw SNP councillor Beth Whiteside said: “It is extremely disappointing that progress appears to have stalled in bringing the House of Angus back into use.
“The closure of the site was a blow for the local economy, not least to those who were employed there.
“Since then, the building has begun to look tired, and having such a sizeable retail unit lying empty for so long at the border of the county is not giving a good impression to visitors and potential investors.
“I am liaising with council officers to offer any assistance to get the project back on track, and I would urge Dobbies to provide an update on what they are planning to do.”
The plans lodged by the firm proposed a traditional department store style, similar to other venues such as House of Bruar, with Edinburgh Woollen Mill as the core brand, retailing a selection of Scottish and themed brands, as well as souvenirs and golf-related clothing and accessories.
A café which previously operated in the building was also scheduled to re-open.