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B&Q and Morrisons to share store space in Durham

Plans have been approved to alter an existing B&Q store at Durham City Retail Park and construct a Morrisons supermarket - a move which will create and safeguard more than 400 jobs.

The site is currently occupied by a B&Q Warehouse, but the application includes the removal of the builders' yard roof, as well as ground works to the same area, to turn the unit into a new format B&Q DIY store, totalling 56,704 sq ft.

That will allow for a 65,638 sq ft Morrisons store to be built, which will create about 300 jobs.

The planning application stated that there would be "numerous benefits" to the proposed development, including the jobs, enhanced customer choice and maintenance of B&Q's presence at the retail park.

B&Q submitted the plans following a nationwide review of its properties, after which it decided that "the current size of the existing store at Durham City Retail Park is no longer viable as a retail operation".

It continued: "The existing store is a product of its time and over the last few years the DIY market as a whole has moved on with the combined impact of the recession and changing customer shopping habits. It is a market-wide issue that has been evidenced by Focus DIY going into administration in 2011, plus the ongoing Homebase store closure programme.

"It is therefore necessary for B&Q to 'downsize' its operations and find an alternative use for the remainder of its store at Durham City Retail Park."

Source : Matthew Ord - Insider Media

23 October 2014

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