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Councillors approve split of B&Q Warehouse at Meir Park

THREE hundred jobs should be created when a supermarket opens on the site of a DIY store.

Morrisons has won planning permission for the store in Meir Park, subject to referral to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The existing B&Q on the Whittle Road site will be halved in size to create room for the supermarket. Tesco, which has a store next door to B&Q, objected to the scheme, claiming the Morrisons supermarket would draw trade away from Longton town centre.

The owners of the Spring Garden Road site in Longton, where Asda was due to build a store before abandoning the plans last month, also objected.

They said their site was ‘sequentially preferable’ to Whittle Road, meaning it should be developed first.

But councillors yesterday granted the scheme planning permission, accepting their officers’ view that the benefits of the development outweighed any negative impact.

Steve Buckley, representing joint applicants Morrisons and B&Q, told Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s development management committee that the scheme would safeguard 115 existing jobs, and create an additional 300.

The committee heard that reducing the size of the B&Q would make it more sustainable while creating room for the supermarket.

Mr Buckley said: “Not only will this development create jobs, it will also provide more retail choice for residents. There are no other existing sites in the area that would be suitable for this development.”

Objectors say the Morrisons store would attract 35 per cent of its customers from Longton, threatening traders in the town.

But the applicants insist its catchment area would generally stretch further east towards Stone and Cheadle, which would make it more acceptable in planning terms.

Rebecca Dennis, representing the owners of the Spring Garden Road site, told the committee: “The planning officers have failed to consider that the Spring Garden Road site in Longton is closer to the town centre than this site.

“We believe that there is no other reasonable option other than to refuse planning permission.”

Committee member Terry Follows said he supported the Morrisons development after being given assurances that traffic improvements would be carried out in the area.

Lysander Road will be widened to two lanes, segregating traffic heading to the retail stores and the residential estate, while the A50 roundabout will also be improved.

Mr Follows said: “I do have concerns about traffic. At the moment people wanting to go onto the estate have to wait at the roundabout. If that situation is addressed I will be happy to support this scheme.”

Councillor Andy Platt added: “Tesco has the biggest supermarket in the south of the city, but it is objecting to a smaller supermarket. It seems to me like Goliath trying to stamp out the ants.”

Source: Stoke Sentinel.

Read the full news article here.

12 November 2014

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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