PETITIONS bearing hundreds of signatures from people calling for Jedburgh to have a new supermarket were handed over to Scottish Borders Council this week.
Three representatives from the town’s Voice and Choice campaign pressure group presented the results of a paper petition and an online petition on the Facebook social networking website – totalling almost 700 signatures – to planning committee chairman Jock Houston on Monday.
The campaign started several months ago after committee members refused an application for a 14,000sqft store on the site of the former Oregon timber frame factory in Jedburgh’s Edinburgh Road. But Kelso-based developer Crabtree & Crabtree resubmitted its application in the wake of the public outcry, which also saw a packed public meeting earlier this month voting overwhelmingly in favour of a new store for the town.
While there has been opposition to any out-of-town-centre store from local traders, two of Jedburgh’s three Scottish Borders councillors have expressed their support for the bid.
Jeanette Thomson, from Smithy House Associates, which is employed as a consultant by the developer, believes the 518 signatures on the paper petition and another 178 on the online protest easily reflect the high level of support in Jedburgh for a new supermarket.
“I think the organisers are very pleased with the numbers who signed both petitions. It would probably have been more but the consultation period ends on Friday [tomorrow] and so the petitions had to be lodged this week,” she told us.
“The purpose of the petitions and the public meeting was to try to gauge the level of feeling in the town over this issue. I think the results have made it perfectly obvious that the majority of people in Jedburgh favour a new supermarket.
“People in Jedburgh should be able to do a full week’s shop in their own town without having to spend £10 or £12 travelling to Galashiels or Kelso to shop in supermarkets there.”
Crabtree & Crabtree’s application is expected to come before the planning committee at its February meeting, when it looks like one of the main arguments that may be advanced is the claim that SBC granted permission to Sainsbury’s for its new store at Kelso on land zoned as for industrial use only.
Councillor Sandy Scott is the only one of the town’s three SBC members who has not given his support to the Crabtree & Crabtree project.
Mr Scott’s view is that until the Local Plan containing the relevant planning policy is reviewed and possibly altered, then any planning application for a supermarket on the Oregon site can only be rejected.