The Council’s controlling Labour Administration have agreed to gift more than £1.5m of Council land in Alexandria to Lidl with little in the way of community benefit or meaningful regeneration.
SNP Councillors asked for the issue to be continued, and decided in a couple of weeks at the full Council meeting. This would allow new Councillors to be brought up to speed on the local development plans and for officers to bring options forward for Council housing to be built on the site as an alternative to Lidl.
Council Leader, Cllr Martin Rooney claimed there was no need for a continuation as new members would have had an opportunity to discuss the plans with experienced Councillors. It then transpired that Cllr Rooney himself did not know the basics of the deal, and even had to be informed by the SNP and Council Officers that Lidl were not paying the Council for the Alexandria Town Centre site.
Despite this revelation, the Council Leader moved that the Council go ahead and given the site to Lidl for free, that the Council looks for a developer for the housing aspect of the site and that the Council delivers any public realm improvements after the Lidl store is built; having received the £1.5m+ site for free, Lidl are contributing a mere £100k for local improvements.
Labour’s amendment, to gift the site to Lidl, passed on the Convener’s casting vote.
Speaking after the decision, local Councillor, Cllr Ian Dickson said,
“Labour are acting against the interests of local people in favour of big business. The decision not to pause, make sure everyone understand the implications and check whether the deal is actually good value for the public purse and good for local people, is inexplicable.
“There was no reason to rush ahead other than to line the pockets of Lidl, a multinational company focussed on profits above all else. Officers confirmed that the demolition of Michell Way could still go ahead and a two or even three week delay would not impact on the planning process, which is still on going.”
Notes for Editors:
SNP Motion in full –
“Committee agrees to continue this issue to August Council or a Special IRED Committee Meeting to
be called by the Convener. A more detailed report should be presented, providing the history of this
plan and why we are where we are at this time.
“Officers should use the report to outline why this is a good deal for West Dunbartonshire Council
and the residents of the Vale of Leven.
“We would also like to see options and officer opinion regards the Council using all or part of the site
for Council Housing as an alternative either to the sale to Lidl, or just for the housing aspect of the
Full audio recording under Infrastructure Regeneration and Economic Development Committee Item 15 – https://portal.audiominutes.com/public_player/westdc