Shop plans will create up to 450 jobs

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PLANS to build four shop units in Cramlington will create more than 400 jobs, according to the developer behind them.

Northumberland County Council’s south east area planning committee has voted in favour of proposals to demolish the B&M Bargains store and a former garden centre at Westmorland Retail Park, next to the Manor Walks shopping centre.

The four retail units will employ up to 450 full-time and part-time staff, and a further 250 jobs will be created during their construction phase.

The plans, put forward by London-based developer Hammerson, will include major improvements to the Westmorland Way, Forum Way and Melling Road junction.

The car park will also be expanded, improving connections to Manor Walks.

Although there were no objections to the plans, concern was raised about the impact the units would have on noise and traffic levels in the town centre.

Planning officer John Dowsett told last week’s meeting at Choppington Social Welfare Centre: “The new shops will encourage national retailers to come into the town.

“Other benefits include the expansion of the car park and the improvement of communications with Manor Walks itself.

“It is expected to encourage further investment in the future.

“This will increase footfall for existing shops and hopefully deter people from shopping in Newcastle or Silverlink retail park.”

John Grinnell, Hammerson’s project director, said: “We are delighted that the planning committee gave us permission to build new stores in Cramlington town centre to encourage new retailers to come to town and create new jobs.

“The new shops will complement the state-of-the-art Vue cinema and restaurants and will put Cramlington town centre at the heart of the community.”