Stonehaven shoppers are playing a supermarket guessing game as work begins on a large store on the edge of town.
Developer FM Group confirmed work began on Friday on constructing the new 40,364 sq ft supermarket on the Ury Estate site.
Shoppers are desperate to know the identity of the new tenant, with some going as far as altering artist’s impressions of the finished building to incorporate some well-known high street logos.
Aberdeenshire Council granted permission for the proposals in June 2016 subject to planning conditions, which have now been met, along with plans for a 50-bedroom hotel with restaurant.
Work has already started on the refurbishment of Ury House, which will be the centrepiece of a golf complex with additional housing.
Many Stonehaven residents have welcomed the prospect of the new supermarket but there have been some local concerns about the impact of increased traffic on the surrounding area and on ensuring the build is carbon neutral.
Others have questions whether a new out-of-town facility is required.
Richard Milne, FM Group estate manager, said people had been “asking him constantly” about the chain moving into the building.
“I can tell you it’s a new supermarket and that’s about it. People in Stonehaven have waited so long for it that it’s great to start delivering it for them.”
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He said the online speculation and debate did not surprise him. “People are needing a change, as much as it’s anything. It just goes to show much people care about their town and which brands come here.”
He said the finished site would satisfy all the conditions regarding traffic placed upon them by planning officials.
“We just do exactly what the roads team ask us to do,” he said.
The developer has said the supermarket will be ready towards the end of next year.
Work has already started on the refurbishment of Ury House, which will be the centrepiece of a golf complex with additional housing also on the site.
An Aberdeenshire Council report concluded that the developers fulfilled all the requirements that were set out in the principle consent, and satisfied the relevant policies in the local development plan for the area.
The report said: “The proposed retail development is of appropriate scale and design, respecting the wider natural landscape and build heritage, whilst providing good access to and from the site.”