FEARS local high streets are being swept up by a “supermarket creep” have reached new heights after it emerged Sainsbury’s is one step closer to opening in Marchmont – despite many similar stores in the area.
It was announced earlier this month that the retail giant intended to take over Margiotta on Marchmont Road after owner Dario Margiotta decided to retire.
A planning application for the site has been launched and is expected to be brought before the council planning committee soon. Sainsbury’s wants to open the new branch as early as next month.
But community leaders fear there are already too many supermarkets in the area, including a Scotmid only a few yards away.
Ian Murray MP said: “The news that Margiotta is to be replaced by yet another Sainsbury’s will be of concern to local residents and retailers.
“I have contacted thousands of residents on this development. There are already three such stores within a mile and the proliferation of mini-supermarkets is threatening local traders in the wider area.”
The Federation of Small Businesses also expressed concerns about the “knock-on” effect of the proposed new store on local traders.
Spokesman Gordon Henderson said: “We have made many previous comments about the future of our high streets and the protection of small independent retailers.
“The FSB is not anti-supermarket per se, but an over-supply of these stores will have a knock-on effect on small businesses and their ability to trade. Sainsbury’s, with their buying power, will always be able to offer cheaper prices and this will be the main deciding factor when people decide where to shop in their local area.”
However, Anne Laird, chair of the Marchmont Community Council, said shoppers had the power to protect local businesses.
She said: “It’s becoming a supermarket creep, that’s the main thing that is concerning everyone. Marchmont Community Council can’t do very much because as a planning decision it’s a change of hands and not something we can object to.
“If there was a planning decision that affected the area, that might be something we could challenge.
“People have got issues with larger supermarkets coming in and destroying local business, but the answer is for residents to use the local businesses – so it’s in our hands.”
Sainsbury’s insisted the new store would prove an asset to the community, and vowed to protect the jobs of Margiotta staff.
A spokesman for the company said: “We have guaranteed the offer of a job to all Margiotta staff, and our proposals reduce the area of alcohol sales as part of a bigger store. We strongly believe that Sainsbury’s will help strengthen an already vibrant area, albeit we acknowledge that Margiotta’s is a tough act to follow.”