A PLAN for shops on the site of a former social club in Greenock is already attracting "considerable interest" from "well-known retail/food outlets", a developer says.
An application has been lodged with Inverclyde Council seeking approval for three retail units at Auchmead Road on land where the old Larkfield Masonic Association hall was. Each unit would be around 74 square metres. There would be 14 parking spaces. An earlier plan for four shops at the site has been withdrawn following talks with the planning department who indicated that that proposal was too large.
A document submitted to the council by applicant Bennett Developments and Consulting states: "Interest in the proposed units has already been considerable with a number of well-known retail/food outlets keen to locate in the development, recognition perhaps that the area is currently deficient in such facilities.
"Given the location of the site, far from Greenock town centre, and the large areas of residential properties in the nearby area, it is felt that a small development of three retail units amounting to 250 square metres would be most useful in meeting the daily requirements of the residents.
"It has been observed that there is a row of shops below residential premises some distance from the site but these appear to be in a very poor state of repair and do not appear to be well patronised perhaps due to their condition.
"The whole raison d’etre for the development is to provide residents with access to local services without having to make the time-consuming and difficult journey to the town centre.
"The proposed development envisages a small group of retail units ideally placed to provide convenience shopping facilities in an area currently deficient in such provision. With the number of new residential units being proposed for the area this can only be a positive development and one which will greatly contribute to the attractiveness of the area.
"Situated directly onto the main road with no residential properties either opposite or adjacent, this small development can be introduced with no impact on the surroundings and would make a very positive contribution to the area."
The retail application is pending assessment by Inverclyde planning officials.
The aftermath of the fire at the site
The disused hall burned down in August last year. Greenock firefighter Andy Adams was badly injured in the blaze which was started deliberately.
Prior to the fire, an application to use the building as a restaurant had been refused.