Rhoda Grant MSP Tells Tesco to Take Action
30th July 2014
Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSP, Rhoda Grant is calling time on land banking by Tesco in Thurso on the Auction site development.
Mrs Grant visited the site with local Thurso Councillor Roger Saxon, a long term critic of the supermarket giant, to see first hand the lack of progress being made at the site. Pressure has been mounting on Tesco over recent months as local councillors and Thurso Community Council have demanded action from the supermarket as well as the launch of an on-line petition from Thurso resident, Fiona McNab, calling for action at the site which has gathered over 1,100 signatures since its launch only a couple of weeks ago.
Commenting on the site Mrs Grant said, "Cllr Saxon has done an excellent job highlighting this issue and supporting the local community in pushing for progress to be made at the proposed Tesco site.
"Visiting the site last week and speaking to members of the local community it was clear that the site as it stands is an eyesore and something must be done. This whole situation has simply gone on for too long. I agree with the sentiments in the on-line petition and understand the frustrations of people in Thurso that Tesco have been allowed to sit on their hands and do nothing to the site which is one of the first things visitors and tourists to the local area are seeing when stepping out of the train station."
Tesco have revealed that they are seeking to now build homes on land that was previously purchased as sites for supermarkets which have now been abandoned. However both Rhoda Grant and Roger Saxon have expressed doubts that this is a viable option for the Thurso site where housing demand may not be high enough to justify such a project.
Mrs Grant continued, "I want to see Tesco take action with this site and either develop it or landscape it as a matter of urgency to finally resolve this issue for Thurso. I will be writing to Tesco asking what they intend to do with this site and asking for action to be taken as soon as possible. Importantly Ed Miliband recently promised the next Labour government would legislate to prevent profiteering property developers stockpiling land, which would have prevented this situation from arising."
Cllr Roger Saxon said, “Tesco are estimated to have land banked around 310 separate sites across the U.K. and Thurso is being left on the shelf as Tesco fail to follow through on promises to make the site less of an eyesore. I am pleased to see pressure mounting on Tesco to at least landscape the site with local petitions and our Labour MSP getting behind the campaign to make sure they do something significant to the site."
Petitioner, Fiona McNab said, “I feel that the response from the petition clearly shows the community's feelings about the site and that we want to know what Tesco plans for it in the future. I would urge as many people as possible to get behind the petition and keep adding to the local pressure on Tesco."
Rhoda Grant MSP, Cllr Roger Saxon and John Erskine at the proposed Tesco site that has become a blight on Thurso since the company has done nothing with its planning permission.