Asda plans to create 400 jobs with new supermarket in Longton
SUPERMARKET giant Asda has revealed plans to build a new store creating up to 400 jobs.
It hopes to transform the former Somerfield site in Longton with a regeneration scheme which could include additional industrial units or even leisure facilities.
If all goes to plan, a planning application will be submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council in the new year.
Now Barlows Holdings Limited, the company asked to develop the Spring Garden Road site for Asda, is asking residents for their views on the scheme before finalising the designs.
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The proposed superstore will include underground parking facilities, with 400 car parking spaces for shoppers.
Barlows Holdings says the rest of the site will be developed for mixed-use.
The plans will also incorporate new pedestrian routes and improved public transport links to and from the site, which lies on the approach to Longton town centre, close to Dresden.
Charles Shepherd, property director for Barlows Holdings Limited, said: "It is important that this gateway site is brought back to proper use and we hope that our proposals will be met with local support.
"Despite difficult economic times, this project will bring up to 400 jobs and much needed regeneration to Longton.
"We will be consulting with local residents, councillors and businesses over the next few weeks to let them feed back on our proposals."
The site currently houses Willow Bank Surgery along with a small number of independent businesses. The developer plans to either move these companies, including the GP surgery, or rebuild them on the site.
A survey by the company showed that of 1,000 people questioned, 94 per cent would like to see the increasingly disused site brought back to use. The survey also showed that 75 per cent of people polled believe Longton needs a greater shopping choice.
Richard Cresswell, vice-chairman of Longton Chamber of Trade and owner of ironmongers RD Cresswell and Co, said: "It will bring more people into Longton and provide competition for Tesco. As much as people complain about Tesco, it does bring people into the town.
"Some people may complain about it being an out-of-town centre development, but they should be pleased something is happening."
Dave Bate, owner of Cafe Continental, said: "It's another big name for Longton which will bring people in."
The announcement comes as construction work progresses on St Modwen's £8 million Phoenix Retail Park, on the east bound approach to the Longton. Smyths Toys, McDonald's and Pets@Home will move in there.
Shopper Paul Beattie, aged 38, of Goms Mill Road, Longton, welcomed the news. He said: "I don't think we need a supermarket, but we do need jobs."
Tracy Kelsall, aged 35, also of Goms Mill Road, said: "That site needs something doing with it, it's a mess."
A spokesman for Asda said about 300 new jobs would be in the store, with the remaining 100 or so based in other parts of the development.
He said: "We're very excited about the prospect of coming to Longton."