TESCO bosses have finally signed off on their deal to build a long-awaited multi-million pound superstore in Linwood.
Residents have been waiting since 2007 for their derelict town centre to be bulldozed and replaced with the supermarket and a new Tweedie Hall, library, shops and office space.
Although work on the £20million development was promised to start last October, legal issues between Renfrewshire Council and Tesco lawyers led to a delay.
Yesterday, hoardings were erected around the eyesore shopping centre in a clear sign that work is finally due to start at last.
Around 350 jobs are expected to be created once the store opens.
Yesterday, Tesco confirmed that contractors are currently on site securing the area ahead of demolition. Legal agreements are now in place, and official public notices were advertised yesterday to formally notify local people that the site is being secured.
Douglas Wilson, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: “We are really pleased to be moving forward with our plans for Linwood town centre.
“Following the recent completion of legal agreements, we are quickly making progress by securing the site and undertaking pre-demolition works.
“Linwood remains our most complex and challenging town centre construction project, and I am sure the whole community will share my delight that the next major step forward is under way.
“This work is in line with our previously published timeline and we are fully committed to bringing regeneration to Linwood town centre.
“I’d like to thank the community in Linwood who have helped shape this project.
“We have been keen to work closely with the community over recent years and will continue to update local people as we make further progress in coming months.”
The town centre has fallen into a state of massive disrepair in recent times and the five-year wait for the store has added to local people’s frustrations.
Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Jim Sheridan, said: “After a lot of hard work by local people, my Labour colleagues in the council and Scottish Parliament and myself, I am delighted that work is finally commencing on the redevelopment of the old town centre site. “
In December last year, Linwood was handed the unwanted Carbuncle Award for the most dismal town in Scotland – with Tesco campaigners blaming the supermarket chain.
Renfrewshire Council leader Brian Lawson added: “Thankfully, it will be Linwood Carbuncle no more, and not a moment too soon, as the people of this town have waited far too long to get a new town centre for themselves and their families.”