Irvine residents campaigning for a discount supermarket complain the people are being ignored with the rejection completely ‘contrary to public opinion’ and ‘common sense’.

Campaigners were shocked by the council’s decision to veto the ‘much wanted’ Lidl store at Stanecastle. Supermarket bosses are now set appeal to North Ayrshire’s Local Review Body.

They said: “We were shocked to see the response from North Ayrshire Council as reported in the Irvine Times in response to our views on the proposed new Lidl store in Irvine.

Writing on behalf of Lidl Action Group and Irvine Community Council Sylvia Mallinson and Jackie Frew said: “The application has attracted the attention of the town, with nearly 100 people attending a support meeting last Monday, March 2 at the Volunteer Rooms and since then a petition has been signed by nearly 400 people so far.

“You will also be aware that the planning application made by Lidl has 184 letters of support, as well as the support of Irvine Community Council. Despite this high level of support from the people of Irvine, our views are being ignored.

“According to the statement by North Ayrshire Council, our views are not material enough to outweigh your Local Plan. We disagree with this entirely. Our views are material, this includes the fact that a new store gives us more choice within the community locally, and would stop us having to make trips to an already congested town centre.

“We need an affordable supermarket within a convenient, walking distance close to neighbourhoods whose retail needs aren’t being met but the council prefers a town centre site as it suits the Local Plan. Stanecastle Roundabout is well connected with public transport with three buses that pass over Manson Drive frequently. Lidl have also committed to upgrading the nearby footpath which will also improve accessibility for local pedestrians travelling to and from the store.

“We firmly believe that our views are submitted on planning grounds and they are material but we are simply being ignored.

“It’s completely contrary to public opinion and common sense for council officials to have refused this application.”

At the recent meeting, one resident asked: “Do these people live in the town? Every weekend it is bottlenecked at East Road, and they’re talking about the climate change, there is nothing worse than a car idling.”

Another added: “A lot of people tried this before, we tried to stop the Portal being built, we tried to stop the Magnum being demolished, and they just walked all over us.”

Another raised the Local Development Plan restrictions and added: “It’s not brown envelopes or back of the fag packet, it’s the legislation and they have to follow that legislation - but one size doesn’t fit all.”