Stenhousemuir traders unhappy at regeneration result outcome

Molly Sisman and daughter Mhairi Gillan hit out at Larbert's regeneration
Molly Sisman and daughter Mhairi Gillan hit out at Larbert's regeneration

The regeneration of Stenhousemuir has been bad for business according to local shop owners.

The town centre was given a multi-million pound facelift and a new library, health centre and Asda superstore.

New footpaths and car parks were added but business owners claim the work has been detrimental to the town.

Molly Sisman, owner of Sisman’s Newsagents, which has been operating in the town for 60 years, said: “The regeneration has ripped the heart from the village.

“It’s been terrible for the independent retailers and only benefited Asda.”

The newsagents’ original shop was flattened to make way for the new development. They were given a unit at the new centre next to Asda but say it was a bad position.

Mhairi Gillan said: “Falkirk Council said it would bring more people to Stenhousemuir - it did, right into Asda.

“People park and get their newspapers and lottery tickets from the supermarket - it left us with no business.

“We were told our unit wasn’t big enough for the post office that we operated, so had that taken from us. They also put the rates up because the council decided Stenhousemuir was a town - it’s not, it’s a village.”

The landlords for the development, MacDonald Estates handed it over to Asda, meaning Sisman’s competition was also their property owner.

Mhairi continued: “How can that be fair - to have your rival become landlord.”

The business moved in recent weeks to a new location in Stenhousemuir Main Street.

Caroline de Ruiter, owner of Calluna Flower Design agreed.

She said: “The regeneration split the town centre into three parts and made it more difficult for shoppers to get to the upper part.

“Before there were lots of benches that people would sit on for a blether and then they would get their bits and pieces and go home.

“Now they have made it difficult for older people to get to where we are and did away with the seating.

“It’s certainly not been good for business, I can’t compete with the prices Asda charge for flowers. Customers still come to me for bouquets as gifts but they say for their own bouquets they get them from the supermarket as it’s far cheaper, even though they know the quality isn’t the same.

“For businesses like greengrocers, regeneration meant they just couldn’t go on.”

A spokesperson from Falkirk Council said: “Despite delivering a new busy modern and attractive town centre with greatly improved retail, health, community, car parking facilities and attractive public realm throughout the town, it is disappointing some traders continue to remain negative about the new trading environment and opportunities this could bring to their businesses.”