Big guns back town vision

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A plan to put Haddington on the map as one of Scotland’s finest town centres is being backed by supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and East Lothian Council.

The two big guns have agreed to support the Haddington Vision Steering Committee and work together on the project which is aimed at making the historic burgh more attractive for shoppers and visitors.

Sainsbury’s submitted a detailed planning application with the council on Friday for its new store at Gateside West, on the outskirts of Haddington, as part of a £20 million investment in the town.

Once the final go-ahead is given, construction is expected to take no more than a year to complete. Outline permission was granted by the planning committee earlier this year for the new supermarket on a 9.1 hectare site including part of the Gateside Commerce park and former Oaktree petrol filling station.

The company is understood to be considering a financial contribution and in-kind support for the vision project but nothing has yet been finalised.

A council spokeswoman said early discussions were to be held about local recruitment to maximise the opportunity for Haddington residents to get jobs at the new supermarket.

Paul Miller, the company’s Scottish development surveyor, said: “Sainbury’s sees Haddington as an attractive place to invest and from day one has been committed in partnership to ensure that our investment is a spur for further improvements for the town, its centre and businesses.

“We have been very impressed by the commitment from the council and vision committee.”

The vision committee is made up of groups such as Haddington Business Association, Haddington and District Community Council, Haddington and District Amenity Society, Haddington History Society, Social Enterprise East Lothian, East Lothian Council and Knox Academy.

Its blueprint for a revitalised town centre was set out at a public meeting last month when a detailed report, produced by an urban design and planning consultancy Urban Animation, was

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