The Homebase store about to close in Hawick could be given a new lease of life as a rival retailer has submitted plans for the site to Scottish Borders Council.
The parent company of discount retail giant Home Bargains, TJ Morris, has put submitted an application to the local authority’s planning department to allow food retailing on the premises.
The Liverpool-headquartered firm has stores at 481 locations and currently employs around 17,000 staff throughout the UK.
It also opened up a new £4m store in Galashiels in July, providing dozens of new jobs in a 25,000sq ft unit in Stirling Street after relocating from the town’s Channel Street.
Homebase, on the other hand, announced in August that it was closing 42 of its stores, putting 1,500 staff out of work, as part of a national shake-up designed to revive its fortunes.
That includes its store at Galalaw Retail Park in Hawick at the cost of 27 jobs.
The application from TJ Morris, submitted by Glasgow-based planning consultancy Iceni Projects, would see 30% of the 12,600sq m site given over to food retailing, although the company is refusing to comment on the specifics of the proposal.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall has welcomed the news, saying: “I think it’s very encouraging that someone has come along so quickly.
“I know the company were expressing great interest, and I’m sure many people will be pleased by this news.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson added: “It is great that another business wants to take over Homebase. Hopefully, they can retain all or as many jobs as possible.”
Homebase was originally due to shut up shop in December, but it announced last month that it was bringing forward that closure date to Saturday, November 10.
Home Bargains is believed to be looking to spend £5m on the site, with a view to opening next spring.
If all goes according to plan, it would expect to take on about 50 staff, almost twice as many as are currently employed at Homebase.