200 jobs could be created in retail plans for Twyord site
UP TO 200 retail jobs could be created under plans to build a new supermarket and hundreds of homes on a factory site.
Twyford shut down its manufacturing operations in Alsager earlier this year after announcing production was moving abroad.
It still leases part of the Lawton Road complex for offices and has 183 staff based there. But the rest of the land has been earmarked for redevelopment by site owners Lagan.
Now Sainsbury's has revealed it is planning to open a new superstore on the south-east corner, with an entrance off Linley Lane.
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It will create a variety of new full and part-time jobs and will feature 25,000 square feet of sales space.
A separate planning application has also been submitted to Cheshire East Council for 435 homes on the rest of the Twyford Bathrooms site. The majority of these properties would be three or four-bedroom houses, although 65 of them would be apartments.
Jo Hawley, regional development executive for Sainsbury's, said: "Our research shows that many people in Alsager are currently shopping in other areas.
"These proposals will help to prevent this, and keep people spending in the town. The creation of 200 new jobs in Alsager would also be a real boost to the local economy."
But the plans have attracted a mixed reaction from residents, with some fearing it could hit trade in town centre shops. It comes just days after a discount card was launched in Alsager to encourage people to use independent retailers.
Retired teacher Margaret Wakelin, aged 65, from Dunnocksfold Road, Alsager, said: "It's the same pound that is going to be spent.
"It's just a question of where people spend it. If they spend it at Sainsbury's, it could mean local shops lose jobs."
The supermarket giant already has a Sainsbury's Local store in Alsager and it is not clear whether this would remain open. But many other residents currently drive to Kidsgrove to do their main weekly shopping.
Councillor Rod Fletcher, who represents Alsager on Cheshire East Council, today welcomed the supermarket plans.
He said: "The Sainsbury's Local is very well-used and a lot of elderly people who don't have a car tend to go there. I hope they keep it.
"But I think a lot of people will be delighted at having a new store."
Mr Fletcher is keen to ensure at least 30 per cent of the proposed homes are made available for affordable housing.
The public will be able to find out more about Sainsbury's plans and give their views at a two-day exhibition at The Bank Corner, Lawton Road, Alsager.
It takes place between 11am and 7pm on Thursday, December 8, and between 12.30pm and 5pm on Saturday, December 10.
A planning application for the food store is expected to be submitted in the New Year. No firm timescale has been set for when the supermarket could open.
Garden centre jobs up for grabs: Page 11