A shop owner has warned of a ‘bleak future’ for her business if a major retailer opens its doors in Brechin.
Anne Watson, owner of the long-established Anne’s Ladieswear in Panmure Street, said the opening of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) would have a “devasting effect” on trade.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill has lodged plans with Angus Council to open an outlet at the former Pictavia centre, which closed in 2014.
Mrs Watson said: “We are a small local shop selling ladies clothing, for the more mature, in and around Brechin.
“This opening would have a devastating effect on my trade because I sell similar clothing items and could not compete.
“I have been in business in Brechin for 11 years and I face a bleak future if this proposal goes ahead.”
Mrs Watson said fewer people were shopping in Brechin because trade is being affected by the reintroduction of parking charges in Angus.
She said Brechin Castle Centre already sells clothing and she is urging Angus Council to throw out the proposal when it comes before planners.
“Do they want another small local shop in Brechin to close?” she said.
“This would be something else they would be taking away from Brechin. There will be nothing left.”
Mrs Watson has also taken aim at suggestions from EWM that there would be no impact on the town centre.
“EWM believe there are no similar clothing businesses in Brechin,” she said.
“Am I invisible? I would urge Angus Council to refuse this application.”
The Pictavia centre opened in 1999 at a cost of £1.2 million to tell the story of the Picts.
However, the troubled project failed to attract predicted visitor numbers and despite attempts to revitalise the facility, it closed 15 years later.
The application is the latest proposal by EWM to expand its operations in Angus.
A previous project by the firm would have seen a £700,000 investment turn the empty ‘House of Angus’ at Dobbie’s Garden Centre at Monifieth into a traditional department store-style retail venue, similar to the House of Bruar.
EWM said the range and brands provided by EWM are “not offered within Brechin town centre”.
A spokesperson said an EWM within Brechin would, therefore, broaden the range and offering of clothing in the town for local residents and create new employment opportunities whilst complementing the wider activities at Brechin Castle Centre.
It said it would therefore have “no negative impact on the existing comparison retail offering” within the town or its centre.