The decision on whether to grant planning permission for a major retail and leisure development in Cumbernauld has been put off until January.

The developers of the Westway retail park, which proposes many features including a cinema, stores, a car showroom and restaurants, will have to wait until the next session of North Lanarkshire Council’s planning board after it was agreed to delay proceedings so that objections raised by Tesco could be considered.

On Tuesday, December 8 – two days before the planning committee held its virtual meeting – representatives of Tesco submitted a detailed letter spelling out their opposition to the development.

Three main reasons are provided for these objections;

That the development would have a “significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Cumbernauld town centre and on Craigmarloch local centre” – where Tesco’s two Cumbernauld stores are located – due to the presence of a food store, which it is anticipated would be either an Aldi or a Lidl.

The harm caused to the  Cumbernauld Town Centre Action Plan

That the food store could instead be built within Cumbernauld Town Centre.

The letter also disputes claims from the developers that the total turnover of Cumbernauld Town Cenrre is around £106 million per annum, of which more than £99 million is generated by Tesco and Asda, stating this “fails to reflect, by a substantial margin, the store’s actual trading position”  and lacks evidence.

Tesco also predicts loss of trade in its store and Asda will be detrimental to other town centre businesses which are already struggling due to the pandemic.

The letter adds: “The true impact on Cumbernauld town centre is thus inevitably very much greater than the figures canvassed by the applicant’s consultant.

“The assessment has to be set in the context of the underlying health of the town centre. That is far from robust. Whilst vacancies might not greatly exceed national or other averages, the ‘landlord response’ is generally to avoid vacancies and maintain an income stream through offering space to

more secondary retailers or hospitality offers. But that reduces the quality of the centre and footfall further.”

Councillors agreed to continue the matter in order that investigations be carried out and a report presented to the next committee which will take place in January 2021.