Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lidl at Balmakeith - why they want to come to Nairn - the developer's viewpoint

Yesterday at the Lidl supermarket consultation for a proposed site at Balmakeith held in Nairn Community and Arts Centre, (See previous Gurn article for images of plans) Andrew Stanley of the developers Ziran outlined the thinking behind this project from the point of view of developers and the supermarket chain. Obviously there is enough existing potential business in Nairn but potential factors such as the bypass, Ardersier rising like an industrial phoenix and proposed housing expansion also feature in Ziran’s calculations. 

Andrew addressed Nairn Business Association members and Community Councillors:

"Ziran is a relatively new company but all of the people in it go back, like ww do, quite a way so we have a track record of doing developments. The last one was the town centre in Bicester. We brought Sainsbury’s here. [...] Look to the west of the site up there and we think with the pressures on Nairn at the moment from different directions, the bypass, the town centre, what’s happening to town centres throughout the country, that Nairn really needs some more names to bring people into Nairn to make more of a centre for a wider catchment. Sainsbury’s certainly does that to an extent. With the pressures of at some stage, the bypass coming along, a very fast dual carriageway – 30 kms of it all the way from Inverness, whichever route is chosen. [...] And whenever bypasses are done it always diverts people away from the actual town that it is bypassing and the first thing we see are signs up on the bypass saying “visit so and so” off the bypass. So if there is more of a reason to come into Nairn then this is what we are trying to do. 
Community Councillors and Association of Nairn Business folk at the consultation
On top of that, and I know people are sceptical, there are we think a lot of jobs coming into Ardersier and the information is that they will start running towards the end of next year and within two years there could be within two and two and a half thousand jobs created at Ardersier. I know that some people are sceptical but there have been all sorts of plans there. That together with the housing also that is coming into Nairn. We think it’s the ideal time to think about extending the retail offer of Nairn.

The big four supermarkets are going through a rough patch at the moment. Lidl and Aldi, those two are on the up. [...] They used to be cheap, cheerful, pile it high. I think now, Lidl certainly, sell themselves on the quality of their produce as well as, yes they’ve got a limited range and things, but it is quality if you look at all the latest advertisements. So we think it is time to bring, and they want to come into Nairn. [...]

At the same time we are also looking at a couple of other major names, they wouldn’t come if it wasn’t for the Sainsbury’s and the Lidl activity here. So it all gels into bringing Nairn a lot more retail activity and a lot more names and a lot more jobs. We think the reasonable estimate is about 80 jobs, 80 full time equivalent jobs and then more on the construction side. Lidl don’t, as they used to do, bring everything in from Germany in kit form, they actually do use local labour and local construction firms Nairn. So really that’s where we are. 

Time wise, after today we’ve got some surveys to do. But we’re looking at an application possibly; end of October/beginning of November and we’ve been talking about the retail impact assessment, they’ve got to be done. I think we can say we will consult with you and various bodies about those and hopefully look at any problems that might arise from that. We are also looking at the transport issue. We know there are issues with traffic light. I know Sainsbury’s paid for another set of traffic lights but that was at the behest of Transport Scotland. [...] But that does need looking at as well and our transport people are quite willing to work with, not just Transport Scotland but also hear what local people say about the situation that exists at the moment. "

Over the next few days we hope to bring you more from the meeting including some  responses from members of the Association of Nairn Businesses.


Anonymous said...

'Why do they want to come to the Balmakeith' - to make money

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter what the public think, this is a development with no access issues so planning will be granted without a problem

Anonymous said...

More one sided reporting here. "Obviously there is enough existing potential business in Nairn". Well actually there isnt. This would kill the town centre which will improve as the economy does. They speak about 80 jobs, not a hope- lidl run on a shoe string and you'll be lucky to see 20 jobs.
The council should be focussing on the town centre and improving that, not looking to to move more out of town.

Graisg said...

More one sided reporting? Don't worry will hopefully get round to what some of the Nairn Biz Association folk had to say before too long.

Anonymous said...

Lidl mainly sells food. The location of the new store is such that many folk who live around the town or to the west of it are still going to use those shops that sell food on or near the High St. Little will change.

Other shops may not fair so well, not because of a Lidl store but due to the demise of folk buying from many High St stores

The affluent who own cars are still likely to travel to Inverness to shop or use the internet

Saving a High St anywhere is just not possible these days, we just don't use them in the way we did and are not likely to do so in the near future which means they will be gone, probably in the next ten years if not sooner