New Tunstall Morrisons will help create 600 jobs
HUNDREDS of jobs will be up for grabs after plans to build a supermarket and a retail park were approved.
Developers Norcros Estates will now be able to construct the proposed Morrisons superstore at the former Johnsons Tiles Highgate Works site in Tunstall.
There will also be a petrol station, four retail outlets, five restaurants and a free car park.
Norcros says the project will create more than 600 jobs, both in construction and at the supermarket and other retail outlets once it is completed.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council's development management committee gave the project the green light despite opposition from traders, Newcastle Borough Council and Realis, the developers behind City Central, the £350 million shopping complex planned for Hanley.
Councillor Lee Wanger, speaking on behalf of Tunstall Chamber of Trade, said: "We have seen the gradual erosion of our town centre. Where we used to have thriving retail shops we now have an abundance of empty properties, charity shops and takeaways.
"If this application is allowed we will see further irreversible erosion of the town centre."
Andrew Malley, of Dransfield Properties, said he did not object to Morrisons, but was concerned that competition from new retail units could stop shoppers from visiting nearby Alexandra Park.
Mr Malley, who was representing Alexandra Park traders, said: "We don't agree that unrestricted retail will not impact on existing businesses."
Realis had raised concerns that the development could poach businesses it wants at City Central and Newcastle Borough Council objected because it believed there were more suitable locations for Morrisons within Newcastle.
But many residents have supported plans for the supermarket and retail park.
Mark McNulty, aged 52, landlord of the White Horse pub, which is adjacent to where the superstore will be built, said: "I feel if anyone should be in objection it is me. There will be a new restaurant in my backyard.
"But I think it's a great idea. A blind man can see that if there's a development like this it is going to create footfall."
John Worthington, aged 52, of Brownhills Road, said: "I've watched this site knocked down and we have had to look at it every day.
"If Morrisons are going to bring more than 600 jobs, then that is 600 plus people to spend their wages in the town."
Mark Thompson, development executive from Morrisons, said: "We are delighted with the committee's decision."
Tim Rix, of Norcros, said: "We are really pleased with the decision, not just for ourselves but for the hundreds of local residents who have supported us for the last 18 months."
The plans must now be rubber stamped by the Secretary of State.