TESCO bosses yesterday pledged to keep their supermarket in Paisley’s East Lane open – even if planning permission is granted to build a new store at Wallneuk.
The vow was given after Paisley and District Trades Union Council claimed wrongly that whether or not the planned Tesco Extra store in the town’s Wallneuk gets the go ahead, jobs opportunities would remain at 500.
A spokesman admitted they are basing their statement on an “assumption that Tesco would close its smaller store in East Lane”.
He added: “Paisley and District Trades Union Council reckon that if the Wallneuk application is refused, Tesco will build the smaller supermarket at Love Street, and keep the East Lane store open.
“Whether Paisley ends up with one larger store or two smaller ones, the total number of jobs would be about 500.”
But Tesco has said the trades council’s assumption is wrong, adding: “The Tesco store at East Lane, in Paisley will remain open even if planning permission for a supermarket at Wallneuk is granted.”
A Tesco spokesman added: “A Tesco store at Wallneuk will create almost 600 jobs.
“These are entirely new jobs that would be brought to Renfrewshire if Wallneuk gets the go-ahead and they are in addition to the jobs that will remain at our East Lane store. Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.
“In terms of trade union reaction to our proposal, it should be noted that one of the country’s biggest and most respected trade unions, USDAW has written to Renfrewshire Council urging them to approve the plan to build a Tesco supermarket at Wallneuk.”
Tesco had downgraded its plans for a massive supermarket in the heart of Paisley and submitted an amended planning application for a smaller development. The decision on whether to grant permission on the amended application is due to be made by Renfrewshire Council on Thursday, April 1.
The controversy surrounding the proposed new store has taken a further twist after Paisley Transition Town claimed that the retail giant has reneged on its announcement that it has downgraded its earlier plans and would build a smaller store.
According to the group’s Chris Johnstone, Tesco has “not kept its promise” to downgrade.
Mr Johnstone, who has written to councillors asking them to refuse the proposal planning permission said: “Although Tesco have scaled down its most recent scheme, we do not think it differs greatly from the one they proposed in February and it has the potential to be expanded to its original size once initial permission has been granted.
“This minimally revised proposal will still take commerce away from Paisley town centre and it will not increase footfall for the town centre.”
A Tesco spokesman denied this claim saying: “The revised planning application for a supermarket at Wallneuk has a reduction in the overall sales floorspace by 28 per cent and the non-food sales floorspace by 36 per cent compared to the original application.
“We have been in discussion with the council’s planning officials and Tesco will agree to a condition of any planning consent restricting the sales floorspace to the reduced level of the revised application.
“To suggest there hasn’t been a reduction in the sales floorspace in the revised application is completely untrue.
“The proposed new supermarket would attract tens of thousands of new shoppers back to Paisley every week with other town centre shops and businesses benefiting from the opportunities this influx of shoppers would bring.
“Although it’s just a few minutes walk from Wallneuk to the centre of Paisley, we will run a direct bus service from the Tesco supermarket to the town centre to make it easier for shoppers to get to the town centre.”