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Decision expected on joint B&Q-ASDA store in Redditch

JOBSEEKERS in Redditch will be keeping their fingers crossed when the Borough Council’s Planning Committee discusses for a second time the proposed new Asda and B&Q scheme in Smallwood.

The committee will make a decision on the planning application on Wednesday, September 10, following an agreement to defer a decision at the previous meeting.

If the proposal is given the go-ahead it will result in a major long-term economic boost for the area, with the creation of up to 400 new jobs for local people at the Asda store.

In tandem with Asda jobs, B&Q’s own plans include the safeguarding of 119 jobs in its existing Jinnah Road store.

The overall proposal, jointly designed and proposed by the two retailers, would see B&Q convert half of its existing retail unit into a ‘new generation’ B&Q store, with Asda opening a new 50,000 sq ft (sales area) in the other half of the current unit.

The new B&Q store would decrease in overall size but feature a new garden centre, alongside a range of other fresh features.

These include a brand new overall layout, lower level displays and colour coded signage, along with the latest decor, home furnishings and lighting products. In addition, the store would carry everything needed for tending the garden year-round.

The Asda store is set to carry a wide selection of product lines, including the standard Asda, Smart Price and Extra Special ranges, along with some non-food lines.

ASDA senior property communications manager, Philip Bartram, said: “We very much look forward to bringing these plans to fruition, and could begin to work towards that immediately if planning consent is granted.

"We are still very disappointed that the previous planning committee meeting saw the formal recommendation from council officers to council members being changed at the last minute from approval to refusal, but we have also been encouraged by the fact that the planning committee clearly decided to take its own objective view on the matter."

He added: "We continue to firmly believe that this proposal has the potential to deliver very significant long-term benefits to Redditch and the surrounding area, and we have been hugely encouraged to learn over time that so many local people also recognise those benefits.

"Our hope now - one shared by much of the local community - is that elected representatives take note of these many potential benefits, and also of public opinion.”

If planning consent is granted, both the Asda and B&Q aspects of the scheme could be up and running by early 2016.

Source : Redditch Advertiser

05 September 2014

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