CONCERNS have been raised after plans were announced for Lidl to be part of the Borders Gateway development.

The supermarket giants stepped in to the project after Premier Inn withdrew plans to build a 71-bedroom hotel in Tweedbank.

However, at a meeting of Galashiels Community Council last week, opposition to the supermarket joining the development – which includes a Costa drive-thru and BP petrol station – was voiced.

Community councillor John Birnie said: “I appreciate the 100 jobs that’s going to be accumulated with this [Borders Gateway] project but I don’t think we need another supermarket.

“All you’re going to do is take people out of Galashiels when we’re trying to build up the town centre.

“The ones in Galashiels will suffer so I think a supermarket is the wrong thing.”

READ MORE: Borders teenager repeatedly punched victim to the head in 'serious offence'

Lidl GB’s regional head of property, Gordon Rafferty, said the store will create around 35 new jobs.

The supermarket has agreed terms with developers Manor Place Developments to be part of the project – with the plans set to be submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

Five industrial units will replace the hotel if the proposals are approved.

During the meeting, member of the public John Gray said he “backed” Mr Birnie’s views.

“As an ex-planner I would now demand the landscape back that these guys stripped out,” said Mr Gray, of Gala in Bloom. “We got that weak excuse for taking it away that the hotel wanted to be viewed from the roundabout.

“Well the hotel’s no longer coming and a supermarket does not require that type of promotion.”

READ MORE: Plans submitted to demolish Borders café described as ‘a bit of an eyesore’

He added: “Let’s get back to what the viewing of Tweedbank was – you had to go into it to see it.

“Tweedbank was never created to be another town but it is slowly becoming that.”

Since the meeting, Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers, of the Conservatives, has also expressed his objection to the supermarket plans.

“This site was never intended to be a retail park,” said Mr Miers. “It wasn’t designed for hotels either, so I’m glad Premier Inn has dropped its plans, but a supermarket would be even worse.”

On the jobs Lidl says it will create, Mr Miers added: “These sorts of claims are economical nonsense and completely unhelpful to constructive debate on development issues like this.

“If you open a new shop that employs 35 people, then by definition you’re going to lose a similar number of jobs in other shops. Borderers can only spend their money once.

“I’m a big fan of Lidl and a big fan of consumer choice in a competitive market economy, but you have to look at things in the round to get policy right and encourage high quality jobs in the long term.

“So, ‘yes’ to new shops and hotels, but they need to be in our town centres, not on every out-of-town roundabout in the Borders.”

READ MORE: Borderers affected by short power outages in the region

A leaflet asking for the views of the community in Tweedbank and the surrounding area is expected to be delivered to households this week.

Responding to the concerns, Duncan Hamilton, of Manor Place Developments, said: “Lidl has been looking for a suitable location to serve the central Scottish Border towns and villages for some time and the Borders Gateway development is the ideal site.

“A new Lidl will provide easy access to a quality products at affordable prices for the people of Tweedbank and the surrounding villages as well as jobs and investment to the local area.

“We are sending out leaflets to the local communities and will consider all comments where possible to take into account the feedback we receive; a planning application will then be submitted to SBC for consideration.”