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New Sainsbury’s in Colchester on B&Q site to bring welcome jobs

B&Q at the Hythe, Colchester, which could become a Sainsbury's.  Photo: James Fletcher

B&Q at the Hythe, Colchester, which could become a Sainsbury's. Photo: James Fletcher

Up to 460 jobs created by a new supermarket in Colchester would be welcome boost for the town according to the council leader.

Sainsbury’s revealed plans in August 2013 to take over the existing B&Q store in Lightship Way, at the Hythe, to create a new superstore – with the aim of opening by 2017.

Now the retail giant’s application for the site has been recommended for approval by Colchester Borough Council officers, subject to successful negotiation of cycle way and CCTV improvements, ahead of a provisional decision based on agreement to the works by the authority’s planning committee on Thursday.

Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “The first thing I always look at is are these new jobs and not just replacing existing jobs, and with supermarkets if it will result in the closure of community stores. That does not appear to be the case on this occasion, but it is down to the planning committee to ensure the proposals meet with the relevant policies.

“Colchester is growing fast, and is growing fast for retail, and we need the jobs to go with that growth.”

In a statement B&Q said: “We welcome the recommended planning decision.

“B&Q is very committed to serving the people of Colchester and we are actively considering opportunities to secure a viable, long-term location for our store in the area.”

The proposed new store would include 7,197sqm of retail floor space selling groceries and homeware, plus a cafe on a mezzanine floor, and employ 450 people in a mixture of full and part-time roles. A home delivery unit and “click and collect” section is also planned.

An additional ten jobs will be created with a pharmacy and a second concession, yet to be decided upon, within the store.

Sainsbury’s has agreed to some road and cycle path improvements, as well as one-year funding for more frequent bus services to the shop, as part of the plans but refused to pay further funding for wider works in the area such as a contribution to a new footbridge over the River Colne.

The retailer has also agreed to fund £700,000 improvements to the Greenstead roundabout to improve capacity, including introducing additional lanes on two sections.

The car park will have a total of 548 spaces.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We are looking forward to the outcome of our application at committee, and will continue to develop our plans for the new store at Colchester.

“We will keep the community informed as we move forward.”

The retailer has previously said the new store will not result in the closure of its town centre outlet in Priory Walk.

Tesco and Waitrose, which each have their own superstores nearby, have objected to the proposals.

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