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Business leaders object to Iceland supermarket proposal for Moray town

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Business leaders in Moray’s biggest town have objected to proposals for another supermarket in the area.

Iceland wants to open one of its larger Food Warehouse stores at a retail park on Elgin’s Edgar Road.

Developers believe that more firms opening in the town could help reverse a 20-year trend of shoppers travelling from Moray to Aberdeen or Inverness to spend money.

An application has been submitted by property firm Robertson, who own the retail park, to vary the conditions for one of the units to allow food and drink to be sold.

However, Elgin’s business improvement district has written to planners to object to the move while stressing the council’s planning rules should be obeyed – amid fears that allowing the supermarket to open could damage town centre trade.

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The letter reads: “Over the last few years, a number of changes have been passed by Moray Council within the out-of-town developments, including reducing the size of units and allowing permission for a wider range of items to be sold.

“These changes directly and negatively affect the city centre, contravening the council’s own policies.

“Equally, if the application is approved, developers would undoubtedly feel confident making future applications that result in changes in policies and designation. This lends to our obvious concern for the impact on the town centre.”

Iceland hopes that its proposed Elgin store could by open by summer next year if approval is given for the development. It is estimated that the opening would create about 30 new jobs.

Elgin Retail Park on the town’s Edgar Road.

In a report, planning consultants Ryden explained that the site, which is known as Elgin Retail Park, was hit by a market downturn when it opened more than 10 years ago.

However, a rise in popularity for discount retailers in recent years has led to a surge of interest in the units.

Iceland previously expressed an interest in moving to the Edgar Road development before withdrawing its interest.

The Ryden report adds: “If shoppers stay in the town or come to the town for their major shopping trips, that will have a clear spin-off benefit for the local traders.”

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