A NEW Lidl superstore poised for Tweedbank has been described as a “win-win for the central Borders”.

Councillors had been advised to reject the application from the German discount retailer by planning officials.

But after a lengthy debate on Monday, the planning and building standards committee decided to show support for the proposal because of its “exceptional community benefits”.

However, before a decision is finally rubber-stamped, the applicant and planning officers need to come up with a jointly-agreed plan to prevent any “negative impacts” on the local landscape.

Mid-Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat described the project as a “no-brainer” and a “win-win for the central Borders”, during the meeting.

He said: “Tweedbank is bigger than any town in Berwickshire and not to have a supermarket there is quite a big deficit to have.

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“The amount of support there is from the local community and the local community council, and the fact that there is only one objection from the whole area, to me it’s a no-brainer that we really need something like this for residents in Tweedbank.

“It’s not only going to bring jobs but also will be a welcome facility for people to use.”

Councillors were informed that the proposed outlet would be five times the size of the Co-op store just five minutes’ drive away. And planning officials said the supermarket could have a “devastating impact and a knock-on impact on Melrose footfall” and would lead to the loss of “valuable employment land within an established business park”.

But members also heard that that the bid had generated more than 100 submissions of support – and only one objection.

Following the meeting, Lidl told the Border Telegraph it was “looking forward to finalising the details” of the project.

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Gordon Rafferty, the firm’s head of property in Scotland, said: “This decision is great news for the Scottish Borders and in particular the residents of Tweedbank and the surrounding area.

“Our multi-million pound investment will create new jobs for the local economy and we very much look forward to bringing our fresh, quality and great value produce to the new store. We are grateful for all the support and look forward to finalising the details of the application and getting started on construction in due course.”

The initial decision by councillors was also welcomed by Duncan Hamilton, who is the managing director of developers New Land Assets.

He said: “We are pleased by the committee’s decision today and we look forward to working with the planning officers to finalise the landscaping details.

“I want to thank the committee for recognising the positive aspects of the application and also residents of Tweedbank and the surrounding area for the support they gave our plans.”