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Press and Journal
03 March 2003

Elgin could be in line for a major jobs boost with the announcement of a 14million plan for a new retail park. One hundred jobs would be created if a proposal to redevelop the Elgin Auction Centre site gets the go-ahead.Retail and leisure developers Macdonald Estates have submitted a planning application to Moray Council for the development of the nine-acre site on the south side of Elgin, at present occupied by ANM Group.They plan to create a 60,000sq ft retail space.Macdonald Estates say that if the planning application is passed by September this year, work could start on the site early in 2004.The auction centre is currently only used for furniture sales and a Saturday market. The last livestock sale was held on December 9.The planning application for the retail park includes a relocated auction saleroom. However, council convener Eddie Aldridge, while welcoming interest in the site, said the planning application would have to be carefully looked at in conjunction with the local plan. "We welcome the news that interest has been expressed in the location so soon after the mart has closed."Obviously the closure of the Elgin mart was a bitter blow to the farming community in Moray," he said.Councillor Aldridge said it was early days in the processing of the planning application and he said there were constraints on the development of the site in terms of the current Moray Local Plan."From memory, the area earmarked for the new auction site is greenfield at the moment and is designated open space. It will not be a straightforward planning application," he said.Macdonald Estates say they are in advance talks with a number of retailers who they say are keen to occupy the site.Kevin Robertson, managing director of Macdonald Estates, said: "Having purchased the site, negotiations are progressing well. We have fielded a large amount of interest from retailers who see a ready market in Elgin."Commenting on the proposals, ANM chief executive Brian Pack said that the retail park offered a good opportunity for Elgin. "ANM Group is delighted to have the opportunity of incorporating into the new development a purpose-built saleroom for the company's antique and furniture auctions and Saturday market," he said.Mr Pack said the proposed redevelopment would allow ANM to reinvest and retain their long-standing presence in Elgin. Their furniture sales and Saturday market will continue uninterrupted on the present site meantime, he added.

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