Sainsbury's plans new shop on site of derelict DIY store

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UP to 500 jobs could be created in the Capital if a new Sainsbury's supermarket is given the go-ahead at a former DIY store.

The food giant has put forward its designs to convert the derelict and vandal-hit B&Q site on Inglis Green Road, Longstone. The store would offer around 165 full-time and 330 part-time jobs.

There is speculation that the application could be rejected by planning bosses next month.

But speaking on behalf of Longstone Community Council, planning officer Steuart Campbell said the body - and many residents - were looking forward to a redevelopment of the site. He said: "The community council is supportive of the application. We can't be particular over which supermarket is established, but any would be welcome.

"B&Q closed down around two years ago, which was sad, and the buildings at the back of the store are now derelict and open to vandalism.

"The company who own this site (Morbaine Ltd] held an exhibition and many people wholeheartedly supported the development. We would like the opportunity to have a new shopping centre on our doorstep and to have the area cleaned up."

It is understood, however, that there are concerns over whether a new supermarket is necessary.

In an e-mail exchange with a planning head, Mr Campbell was told: "The application is in an out of centre location and as such a full assessment has to be made of the impact of the proposal upon existing town centres, ie Gorgie and Dalry.

"This is a major development. The fact that the current owners have allowed the site to become an eyesore is not a reason to approve a development of this scale."

In a letter to John Bury, the council's head of planning, Mr Campbell said: "Longstone Community Council (LCC) has been informed that this application might be refused on the grounds that a new shopping facility on this site is not needed. If this is true, it seems to be a rather shallow objection and one that might reflect the views of those who already operate stores in the area.

"LCC would be interested to know how the planning department propose to justify the view that there is no need for this development.

"The recent bad weather has shown that existing shops are inadequate. In addition, these shops do not offer the choice and variety of fresh food that people want nowadays.

"LCC is also concerned about the need for redevelopment of the site, which is now derelict, an eyesore, attractive to undesirable elements including travellers, and being used as a car park and rubbish dump."

Morbaine director Alex Brodie said: "We are delighted to have secured a respected retailer such as Sainsbury's for this exciting potential development and we look forward to working with them to hopefully deliver new jobs and the regeneration of this site."

Sainsbury's has also launched an application to create a convenience store on Bernard Street, Leith, creating 25 jobs, and plans for a new local store at Barnton.