Anger over delay to 500 jobs plan
A PUBLICAN is calling for action to be taken to ensure 500 potential jobs are not lost.
Mark McNulty owns the White Horse, in Tunstall, and fears a planning application for the former Johnsons Tiles Highgate Works will be withdrawn if things aren't moved along.
Plans to build a large Morrisons superstore on the disused site, off Brownhills Road, as well as several retail units, were submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council earlier this year.
However, the application is yet to be decided.
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Mark, aged 51, said: "The objectors believe this will kill the town centre but how do you kill something that is already dead?
"To my mind, the development is only going to bring more jobs and more footfall to the area.
"There's going to be more than 800 parking spaces for people and it'll be at the end of the High Street – perfect for people to go into the town."
Mark has owned the White Horse for eight years and believes the plans could regenerate the area.
He added: "There are six towns in this area, so what about Tunstall for jobs? The council's dilly-dallying is an embarrassment."
The retail development would include a petrol station, seven non-food shops and two restaurants.
Businesses in and around the High Street believe it will take trade away from them and have serious consequences for the town.
Many of them, including Asda, The Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley and Tunstall Chamber of Trade, have submitted formal objections.
Regular at the White Horse, Alex Hobbs, says he hopes to open a pub further along from the White Horse next year, and believes the new development would be a breath of fresh air for the area.
The 37-year-old said: "I'd be happy with it and almost everyone I know would be. It'll be good for businesses.
"It'll be interesting to see how it gets on with Asda so close by."
Retired tile worker Ted Wright, aged 65, of Fegg Hayes, said: "It's more choice, at the end of the day. It'll bring more customers into Tunstall."
Ernest Fritch, aged 80, of Tunstall, said: "I'm not against it but there are so many empty premises in the High Street.
"Filling them needs to be the council's first priority."
Kat Green, aged 63, of Fegg Hayes, said: "There's no denying the area needs it and when that amount of jobs are up for grabs, it can't be ignored.
"There just needs to be a balance to ensure existing businesses are supported if the superstore opens."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, left, city council cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "The planning application was registered on March 20.
"Following on from that, we have been awaiting further information from the applicant in respect of the retail impact of the development and its effects on the highway network."