Premier Broadway retailers Dennis and Linda Williams are reaping the rewards of 30 years’ support for their community with thousands of people, including MPs and MSPs, backing their campaign against a supermarket development just 100 yards from their store in Edinburgh.
More than 400 people had signed the pair’s in-store petition against Aldi’s plans to build a store on land which had previously been earmarked for affordable housing.
Over 1,500 people have also signed Linda’s online petition which calls on the City of Edinburgh Council to “prioritise social and affordable housing on brownfield sites in Edinburgh, rather than allow commercial and supermarket developments”.
Despite two of 11 bids being made by social housing providers, Aldi was chosen as the preferred bidder to purchase the land, owned by the Church of Scotland and the city council.
“Quite apart from the threat to the livelihood of up to 14 small businesses, this is an area of acute housing shortage,” Linda explained. “When a council property here becomes vacant, on average 500 people put in bids for it. The land in question could accommodate up to 70 flats, which would go a long way to helping residents find a decent place to live.”
Dennis added: “Our community work might not add a great deal to our bottom line, but it’s really come into its own here.
“Everyone is behind us, from our loyal local shoppers to MPs, the local paper and our MSP Gordon Macdonald, who also leafleted 3,000 homes. These people know Linda and I personally. They are acutely aware of all the things we do to support the local community and this is their way of saying thank you and giving back.”
In addition to healthy eating days and a school breakfast initiative, the past year has seen the pair lobby the council to install new CCTV in the shopping precinct and establish a community recycling facility.
Sign the petition here.