Work about to begin on Hawick's Â£5m new Aldi store
Work is just about to start on the building of a new Â£5m supermarket in Hawick.
Preparations are taking place to enable construction at the former Wilton Mills site in Commercial Road to begin.
German-based Aldi, which has 9,000 outlets in 18 different countries, first announced plans for the new premises late in 2014.
Development plans were put on display at the Heart of Hawick the following year, with the company claiming that 92% of those who attended the exhibition approved of the scheme.
But Scottish Borders Council originally rejected the proposal from developer Wilton Mills for the 18,500sq ft outlet because it was said to go against planning policy, citing in its judgement that there was “no spare retail capacity for a class-one food store in Hawick”.
The council’s nine-strong local review body later overturned the planners’ decision to reject the application.
It is believed the construction of the supermarket will take several months to complete, with the premises, set to create 35 new jobs, being expected to open later in the year.
The new Hawick store is one of eight new Aldi premises being built in Scotland, bringing the total number in the country up to 72.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “We are very excited about coming to Hawick. The Aldi brand is very popular with Borders customers.”
Richard Holloway, managing director of Aldi in Scotland, said: “There is no doubt that Aldi is growing in popularity across the UK, and Scotland is a significant success story in its own right.
“We’re looking forward to giving even more people the chance to switch to Aldi and save on their weekly shop.
“We will continue to deliver the highest quality and value, and I am confident that we will strike deals with more Scottish suppliers in the coming year.”
There had originally been opposition to Aldi moving into the town from townsfolk and businesses – including nine letters of objection and two petitions containing a total of 328 names – with dissenters citing fears over the impact the new store would have on existing town centre trade.
Sharing those concerns was Hawick councillor Ron Smith, chairman of the local review body when it approved the scheme.
He told the Hawick News at the time: “I wish I could be as certain of the benefits to be gained as certain Hawick councillors seem to be.
“Certainly this store will have an impact on the High Street and will pose ever more challenges to those shopkeepers.”
But town councillors Watson McAteer and Stuart Marshall strongly supported the project from the outset.
Speaking after approval was granted for the store last year, Mr McAteer said: “This will be a significant part of Hawick’s regeneration, making Commercial Road an attractive and vibrant area of the town.”
His views were echoed by Mr Marshall, who added: “This will bring a derelict building in the centre of Hawick back to life.”
Aldi became the first national supermarket to launch a Facebook page just for Scottish shoppers.
Facebook.com/AldiScotland went live in September.
The new Aldi will take the number of supermarkets in Hawick to four, there already being a Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and new-look Lidl.