Jed supports supermarket idea in poll

Jedburgh and district councillor Scott Hamilton outside Jedburgh Grammar School.
Jedburgh and district councillor Scott Hamilton outside Jedburgh Grammar School.

Renewed calls have been made for a new supermarket to be brought to Jedburgh.

It comes as the town looks ahead to what will happen to the old Grammar School when the town’s new community campus, due to be built by 2020, leaves the current site on the Pleasance redundant.

And townsfolk have been airing their views on an idea put forward by the town’s newest councillor Scott Hamilton.

“With the new local development plan under consultation at Scottish Borders Council I have asked them to consider the Jedburgh Grammar site as potential retail,” he said.

“On the doorsteps during the local election campaign one issue came to light more than any other. The residents of Jedburgh wished to have an alternative supermarket for the town.”

Mr Hamilton’s online poll asking ‘Do you support an alternative supermarket for Jedburgh?’ generated a total of 235 responses over a two week period, of which 215 voted yes, 18 no and two unsure votes.

However, the idea remains in the very early stages. Mr Hamilton added: “The population of Jedburgh is supported by three large communities with St Boswells, Denholm and Ancrum nearby, not to mention the large rural population. The site at the Grammar School is by no means a done deal as studies would have to be carried out on the roads and other structural parts which may conclude that the site is not suitable, however, there is growing public support for this.”

He addded: “Through my preliminary conversations most supermarkets find Jedburgh a difficult investment as the population is deemed too small and the location of a site has never been accurately identified. My argument is that the population of Jedburgh is supported by three large communities with St Boswells, Denholm and Ancrum nearby, not to mention the large rural population. Adding all these settlements together would result in a population of approximately 7000 which would be a reasonable amount for a supermarket investment. If you take Hawick’s population and divide by the number of supermarkets it roughly becomes 2,858 per supermarket. There were opportunities in previous years to have a supermarket for the town but the sites were rejected for different reasons. If the local development plan accepts the site put forward then we could achieve a supermarket in the centre of the town by the end of 2020.”

In 2011 a petition with 700 signatures calling for a new supermarket to be build on the former Oregon Homes site at Bankend was put to the council. But the campaign was dismissed by planners as the land was not earmarked for retail in the local development plan.

The poll can be seen on Mr Hamilton’s Facebook page by searching @makeithamilton