Johnstone’s advisor “not convinced” by Morrisons garden center plans

A Johnstone councilor said he was “not convinced” by plans to build a garden center in the town’s Morrisons and joined calls for close scrutiny.

Unionist Derek Bibby insisted he had “serious reservations” about the supermarket giant’s proposals to erect a center in the parking lot of the Napier Street store.

The request is expected to be on the planning council’s agenda next week after a group of elected members said it caused widespread controversy.

There has been an outcry online in response to the plans, with many suggesting the area is already too busy with traffic entering and exiting the A737.

Others have expressed fears about how this could affect the nearby garden center in Gowanlea, which has been part of the community for over 60 years.

Councilor Bibby said the board will need to have a thorough discussion to ensure the center doesn’t cause further problems in an already crowded area.

He said: “At first glance, I have serious reservations about this proposal.

“First, we have a long-established garden center in Gowanlea, a few meters from the Morrisons on Barochan Road.

“My question would be why would we need a garden center at the supermarket when Gowanlea has, over the years, been able to make adequate arrangements for the people of Johnstone?” And what will be the consequences for this long established company?

Another point of discussion across the community is the implications for traffic and access. Congestion in and around Morrisons has been a concern for many years, with existing issues yet to be resolved. .

“These issues will need to be carefully considered by the planning board. With the information currently available, I am not at all convinced that the deal has been done, and much reassurance is needed.”

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Gowanlea has already suffered in recent years due to long road works at Deafhillock roundabout and there are fears that a Morrisons garden center could inflict another heavy blow on the business for the family business.

Meanwhile, congestion has been a significant peak-hour problem in the area for several years, especially since the opening of Paton’s Mill Business Park which blocked the entrance to the city.

Morrisons was approached for comment but offered no response.

The council of communities, housing and town planning will meet next Tuesday at 1 p.m. The meeting will be webcast live online at https://renfrewshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

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Ethel Nester

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