SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s today revealed plans to create 400 new jobs in Thornton with the creation of a new superstore.
Just months after announcing it would build its flagship store in Blackpool’s new Central Business District, the supermarket is pressing ahead with a third massive Fylde coast store .
Sainbury’s proposals – which were today met with a mixed response from local traders – take the number of jobs the firm is set to create in Blackpool and Wyre to 800.
The Thornton proposals involve a 50,000sq ft store to be built on land off Fleetwood Road and would see the creation of around 400 jobs – around a third of which would be full-time positions.
The plans will go up for public exhibition in the town next weekend.
Jo Hawley, Sainsbury’s regional development executive, said: “We’re looking to submit a planning application in the next few months but, before we do that, we’d like to get the views of the local community on our proposals.
“I’d encourage people to come along to the exhibition, talk to Sainsbury’s development team and let us know what they think about our plans.
“The new store will form the first phase of the proposed local centre set out by the council in its Area Action Plan.
“By demonstrating our commitment to the area, we are confident other retailers will also invest in Thornton Cleveleys and create additional jobs and facilities for the local community.”
MP Paul Maynard said he welcomed any scheme which brought employment to the area, but the company would have to answer a series of concerns.
He added: “In principal, 400 jobs gets a ‘yes’.
“But I understand people have concerns about there being too many supermarkets and we need to look at issues including traffic measures.
“Supermarkets are only successful if consumers use them.
“I’ll reserve my full judgement until after I visit the public consultation exhibition next weekend.”
The store would be situated around two miles away from the Morrisons supermarket in the town and on land adjacent to the football club, which would not be affected by the development.
John Prothero, a Cleveleys Area Forum committee member and businessman, said: “Anything that brings employment to the area must be good as long as it’s not detrimental to the town centre.
“We have to be careful not to wreck the centre because that’s very easy to do at the moment.
“New jobs and employment are always welcome and I think it’s fantastic, but if you open a supermarket site where is the extra business coming from to support the community?”
“The jobs aren’t in manufacturing, they are retail, and while I’m in retail myself, how many extra jobs does this really create – it could cause competition with employment in other businesses.
“Smaller businesses and retailers like myself shop in Cleveleys and everything goes straight back into the community.
“But with large multi-national businesses, not a lot of money goes back into the local economy.”
Ian Ogilvy runs two jewellery shops in Cleveleys and added: “I honestly feel we have sufficient supermarkets in the area from Lidl to Morrisons and Tesco and I think it would be totally unnecessary and I’m sure a lot of people must feel that way. The number of jobs could be in building and once it’s done their would be a limited number of people employed there.”
Sainsbury’s also has smaller Sainsbury’s Local stores, one on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, and another on Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, which opened earlier this month.
n Sainsbury’s exhibition will be held at Thornton Cleveleys FC clubhouse on Friday from 11am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Plans of the proposed development will be on display and members of the development team will be available to answer any questions people may have.