Leader: ‘Morrisons a big chance for West End’

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GO West is the anthem starting to ring out around Shandwick Place. After years of taking a hammering at the hands of the tram works, the people living and working there finally have something to smile about.

Instead of businesses closing down and blaming the roadworks for turning the neighbourhood into a ghost town, new stores are about to start opening. There is a growing feeling that the West End has ­finally turned a corner.

The arrival of one of the big four supermarkets usually provokes mixed feelings in a neighbourhood. We tend to love the convenience and choice they offer, but worry about the possible impact on ­independent stores.

For the West End, the arrival of three of them – Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – can only be good news.

They won’t transform the area on their own. However, not only will they entice many more people to stop and shop, their arrival is an unmistakable sign that others will follow in their wake.

Whatever you think of the proliferation of the supermarkets, no one can doubt these corporate giants know exactly what they are doing. They never open a new store without first meticulously studying the ebb and flow of shoppers passing by their door.

And they clearly see plenty of potential in and around Shandwick Place. The tram stop there will certainly have played its part in their calculations.

Having led the way on reporting the terrible problems caused by the construction works, it is a pleasure for this newspaper to do the same as some of the long-promised benefits of the project finally start to kick in.

Of course it is not just Shandwick Place that stands to benefit. This promises to be a great ­opportunity for the rest of the West End.

For more than a decade, the centre of gravity in the city centre has been moving east, thanks to a string of new developments ­following the opening of the Scottish Parliament.

The once dominant West End has suffered as a result, but now looks like it is back on the up. And it will be a pleasure for many of us to rediscover its many attractions.