Supermarket giant Asda has claimed its new Arbroath store will “stimulate interest” in vacant shop units.
That claim appeared to have some foundation, as The Courier can reveal one of the empty premises adjacent to the development on the Westway Retail Park is set to be taken over.
Asda is on course to open the doors to its 36,000 square foot outlet earlier than previously planned and could be ready to trade late next month or early November.
The supermarket is being built next door to two empty premises left by Focus DIY and Acorn Pets.
The closure of both firms earlier this year was a major blow to the local economy, at a site seen as one of the most promising commercial developments in the town.
Asda claims it is confident its presence will prove an attractive proposition for major retailers looking to move into Angus.
A spokeswoman said: “The store represents a major investment in Arbroath. Work is progressing well and we are ahead of schedule, with the store set to open later in the autumn.
“There is plenty of parking, including designated spaces for customers with disabilities and customers with children.’Excitement'”We believe that there is capacity for the new store and excitement locally about our opening later in the year.
“We are very much looking forward to opening the doors in Arbroath and we also expect the store to stimulate further interest in the retail park.”
Councillor David Fairweather, who tabled the motion that allowed Asda to progress with the development, said it was no surprise the firm was confident.
He said: “As part of the motion I put forward when Asda was up for refusal, I stated that allowing the supermarket to come in would contribute to the regeneration of Arbroath and its town centre.
“Not only will it increase employment, but it will stop people haemorrhaging out of our town and provide a real boost to the local economy. I stick by what I said at the time and that is what is happening.”
Councillor Fairweather revealed an unnamed firm has an application in with the council planning department with a view to taking over the unit formerly occupied by Focus.Mystery companyA decision is expected within the next two weeks after negotiations on the removal of some planning restrictions are finalised, at which time the identity of the company will be revealed.
It is understood there is also interest in the other vacant premises at the town’s retail park, which saw the addition of a KFC fast food restaurant earlier this year.
Asda has begun recruitment, with a “very positive response” from the local population.
The planning approval for the section of land covering the new store shows areas marked off for three joined units two at 10,000 square feet and one at 16,000 square feet.
The front of the store will be in line with the former Acorn Pets, but the premises will be longer and continue as wide as the fence belonging to the Presentation Products factory next door.
Applicants have been able to apply online over the last two weeks and successful candidates will be invited to take part in an ‘Asda Magic’ selection event.
The experience invites applicants into a store to see what it’s like to work at Asda, while the firm gets a chance to assess them for the job.
The spokeswoman added: “Our colleagues receive competitive pay and a range of benefits, including a colleague discount card, flexible working, and the opportunity to join the Asda pension plan and Share Save plan. There are also a range of training opportunities to allow colleagues to progress in their roles.”