New life at last for Carluke’s empty supermarket?

Haldanes store closed in June 2011
Haldanes store closed in June 2011

A bid is being made to find a series of roles for the long-vacant supermarket at Carluke’s Rankin Gait.

Now something of a depressing sight in a prominent part of Carluke town centre, the Rankin Gait Centre’s main shop unit was, ironically, opened 27 years ago in the hope of breathing new commercial life into the heart of a town beleaguered since the early 1970s’ pedestriansation of its High Street.

At first, a branch of Morrisons seemed to flourish in the unit in the centre, but the supermarket chain eventually moved out and gave way to Haldanes, but, 18 months later in June 2011, it went into administration with the loss of 60 jobs.

The firm had apparently been unable to compete with the Tesco store that had opened at Loch Park, and there was also new competition from the likes of Aldi in Kirkton Street, opened following the birth of Rankin Gait Centre at the beginning of the 1990s.

Now it appears that any hope of reopening that part of the Rankin Gait Centre as a supermarket has finally been abandoned, and a planning permission application was submitted this week to South Lanarkshire Council to convert the main retail unit for a series of new uses.

Glasgow-based Sava Estates has applied for permission for change of use of the former supermarket unit into a hot food takeaway restaurant, gymnasium, dental practice and children’s soft play facility.

Council planners will consider that application over the coming weeks.

The re-use of the unit for various new roles would be seen by many as a positive step towards regenerating a run-down part of Carluke town centre.

In recent years efforts to revive the heart of the town have included the setting up of Carluke Development Trust and, more controversially, the creation of a Carluke business improvement district.