The Westfield retail park, which will feature Aldi, Home Bargains and M&S Simply Food as anchor tenants, had faced opposition from a range of local businesses, shops and landlords, who claimed the project have a devastating effect on the town centre and could derail plans to redevelop an existing shopping centre.
But having received the green light, developer L&S Broadwood – a subsidiary of Glasgow-based London & Scottish Investments – hopes to start work later this year on the shopping scheme, which is expected to create 200 full-time jobs and about 50 jobs during the construction phase.
The centre will include a seven-unit shopping parade, a pub, petrol station and 600 car parking spaces on a brownfield site in the shadow of Broadwood Stadium. Starbucks is also in “advanced negotiations” over the lease for a drive-through coffee shop.
Bryan Wilson, development director at L&S Broadwood, said: “We believe this local neighbourhood centre will be a tremendous asset for the people living on the other side of the M80 who currently have very few local amenities. It will give them top high street brands on their doorstep and provide a real focus for their community.”
He added: “We are grateful to the members of the planning committee for giving us the green light for our proposals. We hope to have shovels in the ground later this year, with a view to start trading in around 18 months’ time.”