At long last Tesco has confirmed what Lochaber residents have suspected for a long time. They will not be building the long promised store within the Blar Mor development in Fort William. No one will be surprised by this decision, but they will be angered that it has taken the company so long to make a decision, whilst sitting on a development site that could have been used by competitors. Tesco has effectively land banked the site, preventing any other company coming to Fort William. Although the Highland Council do not own the site, I will be asking the director responsible for economic development to get involved with this issue, so that it doesn’t become a barren waste ground full of weeds.
Here’s the full email from Tesco corporate affairs team sent to councillors this morning:
From: Holligan, Richard
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2015 08:46 AM
Subject: Tesco Fort William
I wanted to write to update you on our planned new Tesco superstore in Fort William.
As you will have read in the media, our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be. As a result the financial resources we have available for new investment are severely constrained and we have had to critically review all current and future investment decisions.
Our absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the c. 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK. In recent weeks we have had to face up to some very tough decisions which affect many hard-working people. We don’t do that lightly and so it is with a heavy heart that we are announcing today that we are unable to proceed with 49 new planned store developments across the country, including our planned store in Fort William.
We are very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended. We know this news will be a real disappointment to many people in your community and we are extremely grateful for the support we have received for our plans. We would like to thank you personally for your support for the project over several years.
We are very aware of the importance of the site to the local community and we are determined that we will work closely with Highland Council to find the right solution for your community.
If I can be of any further assistance, please do let me know.
Corporate Affairs Manager – Scotland