Tesco to start building in spring
Tesco expects that their new store between the Braid and North View will be opening in late 2012. This was one of the answers given to some of the questions put to their representative by a group consisting of chairman and deputy of the town council, Development Trust director and a member of the business community.
Other issues discussed included the possible effects on the town, employment opportunities, approach roads and other access, and any involvement by Tesco in the rest of the town. Douglas Wilson, Corporate Affairs Manager answered questions on behalf of Tesco.
Employment is always one of the biggest concerns but it seems that 150 full and part time staff will be recruited, via job centres. Workers will have good rates of pay and benefits packages. Training courses will be given for “basic retail skills through to graduate and management schemes.” Recruitment is likely to start March or April 2012. The main construction contracts will be tendered for, but local firms might be sub-contracted, particularly for landscaping work.
Many residents have voiced concern over the junction of the access road across the Braid, and the Warkworth road, believing it could be quite a dangerous junction. Douglas Wilson replied, “The design of both the site access junction and link road serving the site are being undertaken on behalf of Northumberland Estates, and upon which planning consent was based. Opportunities for amending the proposed highway improvements are therefore limited”. The road and the bridge across the Gut will probably be constructed first and used for carrying the construction traffic to the site. The access from the supermarket to Queen Street has been decided, but no images were available to show what it will look like.
As the store has been described as an eco store, David Wilson was asked what this implied. He explained that Tesco are building stores designed to reduce their carbon footprint. It will be clad in larch and energy-efficient measures include a combined heat and power unit to generate its own energy and roof ventilators to allow natural air flow.
Regarding goods and services, customers at the present Queen Street Tesco store will be balloted about three months before the opening of the bigger store to find out preferences, and club card data will also be used. Unfortunately, a fuel filling station is not possible on this site.
Each store has a dedicated community champion, who will commit 18 hours per week to identify local needs, develop community initiatives and support local charities and organisations. For example, the community champion at the Berwick store organises fund raising activities for charities and groups chosen by staff, arranges store tours for local schools, organises tea dances at local care homes and fund raising bag packs in store for charities and local organisations.
They would consider requests for financial support for community activities or something which would enhance the town. It is possible to advertise local businesses in a directory or on an advertising board in store.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that a further meeting will be held so that an update can be given.
Amble Town Council