Dunnes Stores has moral obligation not to quit Glenrothes, says MSP

© DC Thomson
Dunnes Stores, Glenrothes.

One of Glenrothes’ biggest stores has a moral obligation not to abandon the town, it has been claimed.

Local MSP Jenny Gilruth says that the announcement by Dunnes Stores to close its Kingdom Centre outlet will be a hammer blow to a town that has already experienced heavy job losses in recent years.

She has written to the CEO of the Irish-based department store operator, calling for the firm to reconsider its shock decision.

Given Dunnes anchor position within the Kingdom Centre, Ms Gilruth also warned that the closure could impact negatively on the public’s perception of the wider town centre area.

“The closure of the store will lead to job loses in an area which direly needs more employment,” she said in her letter.

“In addition to this, there will also be a huge symbolism attached to closing the town centre’s largest unit.

“The week before you announced your closure, it was reported that 30% of children in Glenrothes live in poverty.

“I truly believe that businesses like Dunnes have a social responsibility to the communities they serve.”

The news of Dunnes’ closure is just the latest jobs blow to hit the town in recent years, following the high-profile closure of Tullis Russell and large number of redundancies at Velux.

Earlier this month, Ms Gilruth invited the owners of the Kingdom Centre, Mars Pension Trustees, to visit Glenrothes following claims that some tenants within the mall had not been contacted by the group since it took over in 2013.

Claiming that Mars has shown indifference to the Kingdom Centre and its numerous empty units, Ms Gilruth hopes that a face-to-face meeting could address the concerns of some traders.

In her letter to Dunnes CEO Margaret Heffernan, the MSP has attempted to prevent another blow to the town and called on the company to show its commitment to Glenrothes having traded successfully for 15 years.

“On our 70th Birthday we need businesses who are committed to Glenrothes,” she added.

“Dunnes is walking away from a community which badly needs these jobs.

“I urge you to reconsider this decision.”

It is thought that around 20 jobs will be lost by the closure of Dunnes, with a sign stating that its last day of trading will be on Saturday March 3.

The company will also close its remaining Scottish outlets in Glasgow’s Parkhead and Cumbernauld.