Sainsbury's unveil plans for new Morpeth supermarket

REVISED plans for a new supermarket on the outskirts of a Northumberland market town were unveiled to local people by a retail giant yesterday.

REVISED plans for a new supermarket on the outskirts of a Northumberland market town were unveiled to local people by a retail giant yesterday.

Last year Sainsbury’s revealed plans to invest £30m in developing a 300-job, 35,000sqft foodstore on farmland at Stobhill on the edge of Morpeth.

The company has since carried out extensive public consultations and has now drawn up revised proposals which go on show to the public in Morpeth Town Hall yesterday and today.

They include a park and ride shuttle bus service connecting the store to the town centre - which would be available to other shoppers and local workers as well as Sainsbury’s customers – to help free up parking spaces in Morpeth.

The revised plans also involve measures aimed at making the store eco-friendly and one of the most sustainable of its kind in the North East.

Today Sainsbury’s will run special bus tours at noon and 3pm to allow any interested Morpeth residents to view its similar store in nearby Alnwick.

Paul Miller, Sainsbury’s national development surveyor for the North East, said: “We are fully committed to bringing a store to Morpeth. Our significant investment reflects Sainsbury’s commitment to continued and rapid growth in the North of England.

“In the current economic climate, while many companies are looking to scale back their expansion activities, we are committed to a long-term programme of expansion.

“Following our consultation since plans for development were announced last year, we have revised the proposals to reflect the feedback received.”

Sainsbury’s expects to submit a formal planning application to the new unitary Northumberland County Council, following feedback to its revised plans for Morpeth. The exhibition runs from 10am to 4.30pm today and from 10am to 6pm tomorrow.

Rival retailer Tesco has already submitted a planning application to Castle Morpeth Council to build a 200-job, eco-friendly 20,000sqft store on Morpeth’s Coopies Lane industrial estate - close to the site proposed by Sainsbury’s.

At the same time, work is progressing well on a £32m project to give the town centre a flagship, 26-unit Edwardian-style shopping arcade.

Morpeth chamber of trade is currently considering its stance on the two rival supermarket bids.

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