Plans for a four-unit retail development in Dundee featuring Home Bargains and Iceland offshoot The Food Warehouse have been approved.
After some debate, elected councillors narrowly voted to allow the proposal, destined for West Gourdie Industrial Estate, by 12 votes to 11.
This was despite being advised by council officers to reject it because it allegedly fell foul of the agreed Town Centres First policy.
The development will, however, be subject to 20 conditions outlined by the city planning department.
One of these states eight item types commonly sold in the city centre, such as books, clothing, hardware, and “miscellaneous” goods cannot occupy a large percentage of shop floor space.
Committee convener Will Dawson, seconded by council leader John Alexander, moved to refuse planning permission and said the Town Centres First policy was there to protect footfall in district high streets.
Fellow SNP councillor Alan Ross, seconded by Labour’s Charlie Malone, tabled a motion to grant permission, arguing he “couldn’t face” his constituents if he voted against creating jobs.
He added: “When there’s a company coming forward with an investment in our city during a difficult time, we shouldn’t turn them away. I have heard enough tonight that we should press ahead with this.
“I know there’s nerves about the city centre…but I think the centre is in good shape.”
Last night, Marketgait Developments estimated 165 employees would be needed to operate all four units, on top of further construction and supply chain positions.
Blair Morrison, representing the firm, said: “I would disagree with the views of council officers.
“In a post-Covid-19 world with unemployment at an all-time high, this investment must be welcomed in the long road to our city’s recovery.
“This committee has already overturned recommendations for refusal on Marston’s pub, Starbucks, Clark’s Bakery, Asda, and Aldi in the Myrekirk area.
“These have proved correct.
“This is not a controversial proposal.”
One objection had been received from Dundee Civic Trust, which claimed no new jobs would be created as workers would be displaced from other retail businesses.
No objections have been received from members of the public.
Discount retailer Home Bargains operates three stores in the city but said none would close as a result. It will be located to the north of the estate’s new Aldi superstore, which opened in August last year, and east of Asda.
Henry’s Coffee House and Baynes Family Bakers have reportedly shown interest in the food premises.