£5m Dundee Sports Direct store secures council green light

Sports Direct LocheeDundee City Council has approved plans for a major new Sports Direct shop and gym in the city, despite city planners recommending that the £5 million scheme should be refused.

Sports tycoon Mike Ashley’s company had lodged plans for the unit in a former nightclub at The Stack Leisure Park in Lochee, creating up to 96 jobs.

City councillors were be told by council planning chiefs on Monday that the plans should be refused after claims that the application “fails to suitably justify siting a retail proposal of this nature in this location”.

However elected members chose to ignore their concerns and approved the plans.

Local planning officials had raised fears that the project would draw shoppers away from the city centre – but these concerns were dismissed by councillors who supported the plans at the city development committee.

Venue nightclub - Stack Leisure Park
The derelict former Venue nightclub has lain empty for more than 10 years

A planning application submitted to Dundee City Council by GVA on behalf of Sports Direct and site owners TJ Morris Limited back in March described how Dundee was “the first choice” to locate the combined gym and sportswear store.

It said: “The city of Dundee has been specifically targeted by Sports Direct for such a proposal.

“This planning application at The Stack Leisure Park is the result of 18 months of effort to ensure these proposals were situated within Dundee, and specifically The Stack.

“The proposal represents a £5 million investment in The Stack and this unit. This includes the fit out, site preparation and overall investment from the landlord and Sports Direct in this proposal.

“This level of private sector investments is clearly a significant benefit to Lochee and the wider Dundee area.

“The proposed change of use will ensure the leisure use remains at the Park while introducing a complementary retail use offering real choice to the surrounding residents.”

If the gym and store development goes ahead, it will become only the second in the UK. The other is in Aintree, in Liverpool.

A statement supporting the application added: “The proposals represent an exciting opportunity to not only enhance the quality of shopping provision within Lochee but also deliver the first Sports Direct retail and gym outlet in Scotland.”

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