A CLUTCH of “eyesore” shops are to be cleaned up and reopened by a supermarket chain.
Sainsbury’s has bought three derelict units in Morningside Road and plans to open a new “Local” branch.
The properties have been vacant since 2008 and have been targeted by graffiti vandals and fly-posters.
It’s expected the new store will create around 25 jobs. The move was welcomed by local traders and community representatives – despite anger in nearby Bruntsfield over the giant’s arrival at the former Peckham’s delicatessen.
Morningside Community Council – which has persuaded Sainsbury’s to clean graffiti from one side of its new properties – said the new store would be good news for the area.
Chair Jean Thomson said: “We are very pleased that these eyesores will finally be cleaned up and restored to use. These units have lain empty for several years now and don’t help to create a good impression.
“Sainsbury’s should also help in drawing increased footfall to that part of Morningside and the area in general, which will be to the benefit of all the traders.”
The supermarket chain said it intended to invest heavily in its new branch and said further vandalism of the property would not be tolerated.
Jim Bishop, Sainsbury’s regional acquisitions manager for convenience in Scotland, said: “We see the opening of a new convenience store in Morningside as an opportunity to complement what is already a high-quality shopping area.
“Sainsbury’s always looks to make a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, and we are confident that our store will make a positive contribution to the area.
“We are happy to commit to removing the graffiti as requested by the community council. We always maintain the highest standards at our stores and future vandalism and graffiti will not be tolerated.”
Local traders have also welcomed the new arrival and said it could not be compared to the situation in Bruntsfield.
Anne Williamson, owner of Houseproud of Morningside and chair of the local traders’ association, said: “There has been no resistance or objection to this from local traders. Instead we welcome it.
“Our situation is different to that in Bruntsfield where one food shop is replacing another food shop. Here in Morningside we are getting a food shop instead of three ugly derelict shops.”
Graham Birse, managing director of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, added: “In my view, Sainsbury’s will add value to the area, increase footfall and also offer some life to that part of the road after normal trading hours. Morningside has many small and different independent businesses and I see no reason why such businesses cannot exist alongside big retailers.”