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Furniture giant Leekes gets go ahead for new Coventry store

Furniture giant Leekes is a step closer to opening a huge new department store in Coventry after being given the go-ahead by planners this week.

The retailer wants to redevelop the former Makro site on the Gallagher Business Park into a massive 130,000 sq ft store – creating over 200 new jobs.

Bosses have agreed the terms of purchase for the freehold of the site and on Wednesday night Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council resolved to grant planning permission for the move.

The application will now be referred to the Secretary of State because it deviates from the development plan and due to the size of the proposal.

If given the final go-ahead, the new plan will see Leekes furniture store relocate from its base in Leicester Road, Bedworth, with all staff being offered a position at the new site in Coventry.

Emma Leeke, managing director of the company, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we gained unanimous support from the council planning committee who have resolved to grant us planning permission.

“We hope to gain a favourable response from the Secretary of State in the next few weeks to enable us to begin our work at the site. This represents the start of an exciting next chapter for our business in the Midlands.

“The site will become the new flagship store for our business set in an extremely convenient location, opposite the Ricoh Arena and close to the M6.

“Our purchase of the freehold for this site means that we are making a long-term commitment to this area. We have a multi-million pound refurbishment budget for the old Makro where we plan to install kitchen, bathroom and conservatory studios.”

If the plans are granted, the new department store is scheduled to open by the summer of this year.

In November last year, planning officers at Coventry City Council – whose area borders the site – objected to the location and suggested the firm looked at more central units in the city.

"This is despite the fact that the building has stood vacant since Makro closed in 2009.

Source : Jenny Waddington – Coventry Telegraph

20 January 2012
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