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Homebase Launch New Store Appeal

HOMEBASE have launched an appeal in the hope of bringing a new store to Stranraer.

The DIY specialists were refused planning permission for a development in Commerce Road back in June but have taken their case to Scottish Ministers.

The appeal will be heard next month by an independent Reporter who will make a final recommendation. Evidence will be heard from CWP, representing Homebase, and Dumfries and Galloway Council with a decision expected to take at least a month.

A spokesman for CWP said he was hopeful the decision taken by the Wigtown Area Committee would be overturned. Dumfries and Galloway Council declined to comment about the appeal.

Planning permission was refused in June amid fears it would take shoppers away from town centre businesses. CWP claimed it would be the first development of its kind in Stranraer and provide 40 jobs.

The store would measure 25,000 square feet with a 10,000 square feet garden centre and parking for 157 cars.

It would be built at the junction of the A77 Stoneykirk Road and Commerce Road with a mini roundabout introduced opposite Ochtrelure Way to reduce traffic speed and improve road safety.

Landscaping would be erected around the car park between the boundaries and the main road.

Prior to the meeting, CWP director Bruce Weir had said it was exactly what Stranraer needed. He said:

"At present money is being lost from the area as residents travel as far as Ayr and Dumfries to access a DIY store."

Councillor Iain Dick supported the proposed store and said:

"I felt it might be beneficial to Stranraer rather than detrimental.

"I was not convinced there would be closures of shops in the town centre."

"There were an awful lot of jobs on offer - this was a key issue."

Existing town centre traders had objected to the proposal suggesting it would cause shoppers to move away from the town centre.

Duncan McColm of Homes and Gardens in George Street said:

"If we continue to promote retail sites on the industrial estate then our town centre will cease to exist as we know it."

Councillor Willie Scobie agreed and said it would have a "devastating affect" on businesses in the town. He said:

"It would have affected the development on the waterfront. Connecting the waterfront back to the town centre is crucial.

"I would much prefer to see the industrial estate having more manufacturing businesses rather than more service industries."

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