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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 07:12 GMT
Supermarket struggle verdict due
By Giancarlo Rinaldi
BBC Scotland news website, South of Scotland reporter

Sainsbury's and Tesco signs
Both Tesco and Sainsbury's hope to move in to Kelso
A struggle between two supermarket giants over a small Borders town should be resolved in a matter of days.

Kelso - with a population of a little more than 6,000 - has been targeted by both Sainsbury's and Tesco.

However, the two companies have selected different sites as their preferred development option.

It means they must await a verdict on Scottish Borders Council's local plan - due next week - on which location it wants to see progress.

In one corner is Tesco's proposal for a development at the town's Spylaw.

It wants to build a 46,500 sq ft store there alongside land which could be used for a business park.

The Spylaw site is controlled by Edinburgh firm Miller Developments.

Alasdair Hutton
At the moment what you have got, essentially, are two developers vying for two sites
Cllr Alasdair Hutton

Spokesman Bruce Lindsay said he believed it could attract more than a dozen companies at Spylaw creating a large number of well-paid jobs.

He said he believed the scheme could do for the town what a similar project - Cavalry Park - had done for Peebles.

In the opposite corner stands Sainsbury's Pinnaclehill project.

It claims its plans for a 30,000 sq ft supermarket would bring about 200 full and part-time jobs to the town.

Sainsbury's development surveyor Paul Miller said the plans had been prepared after lengthy consultation with the people of the community.

He said it would "improve the choice of food shopping for local residents" but also "support the local economy".

Both firms say they want to work with local traders to the benefit of the town.

A decision on a supermarket site in Kelso is due this month

It is the latest chapter in a supermarket saga which Kelso councillor Alasdair Hutton said goes back at least 10 years.

"As I understand it, public opinion wants to see something bigger and better than we have now," he said.

"At the moment what you have got, essentially, are two developers vying for two sites.

"One of the sites will be favoured and the other will not - I doubt very much they will say there will be two."

The date for that decision comes on 20 March.

Mr Hutton said he believed no matter which site was chosen it might bring other supermarket firms into the open.

"My feeling is that the developers for the two supermarkets may not be the only people who enter the race," he said.

He said other firms might be "keeping their powder dry".

However, Mr Hutton added that whoever won the day it might prove a boost for the town.

'Quite buoyant'

He said it could stop locals travelling to Galashiels, Hawick or Berwick for their shopping and attract other people in.

Combined with a planned 1.5m refurbishment of the town centre, he said he believed the future was bright.

"Kelso is quite buoyant - the shops don't seem to stay empty for very long," he said.

He said that existing stores might even benefit from a larger store opening.

"I think that they should look at it as an opportunity to make money from the people coming to the supermarket," he said.

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