James Hall & Co is in advanced talks with supermarket chain Morrisons to open a 71,000 sq ft store on the former Spar distribution depot site on Blackpool Road in Ribbleton, Preston.
James Hall & Co used the site as the main distribution depot for Spar stores across northern England for 45 years and, together with development management partner Centros, is planning to redevelop around 14 acres to offer affordable new housing and a new shopping destination.
The Spar distribution depot moved to a new purpose-built premises at Bowland View on the edge of Preston, close to the M6 motorway.
Ian Hall, chairman of James Hall & Co, said: "We are delighted to be bringing a new food store to the area and thereby helping to create additional jobs and career opportunities for up to 400 local people. That will have a major regenerative effect on Ribbleton.
"I can also now say that we are in advanced negotiations with Morrisons to be the retailer. The company is certainly an excellent employer and is outstanding for the food prepared in store by its trained butchers, bakers and fishmongers.
"The housing and the enhancements to school, leisure and community facilities will also have a lasting positive impact on the area. Having listened very carefully to the views of the schools, local community groups and local residents, we are pleased to have been able to respond by making a number of appropriate refinements to our proposed scheme layout."
Since consultation with key local stakeholders and residents began in July, James Hall & Co has revised the scheme layout in response to the feedback received.
As a result, Emerson Road will remain a cul-de-sac instead of a through road as originally planned, with additional parking provided for residents and the parents of children attending an adjacent junior school.
An outline planning application of the revised masterplan has since been submitted to Preston City Council.
The main access to the food store will be from a new all-ways junction on Blackpool Road, which aims to provide a safe pedestrian crossing.
An improved junction on Ribbleton Lane and enhancement of West View is being proposed to provide a more attractive access for the West View Leisure Centre.
The redevelopment proposals also include:
- A supermarket with associated parking and a petrol filling station on Blackpool Road
- Development of 23 new family houses and the refurbishment of the 16 existing houses owned by the company in Thorn Street
- Development of car and coach parking facilities for the adjacent West View Leisure Centre, which will create space for the potential future expansion of the centre
- Provision of community amenities including an area for local garden allotments and the potential re-use of the former Old England public house as a community facility
- Provision of an additional playground area for the adjacent Methodist Junior School on Ribbleton Avenue, plus parking spaces for parents and residents
David Lewis, director of Centros, added: "The planning application is in outline form, so the final design of the scheme will evolve during the planning process – particularly in response to further constructive feedback from our consultation. 4,000 leaflets have already been delivered to local residents and provided for the leisure centre users and the schools' parents. We are continuing our consultation on the proposals and there will be a public exhibition for local residents soon after the summer holiday period."
If Preston City Council's planning committee grants planning consent later this year, Centros envisages that a start could be made on site later next year, with the development being completed in 2013-2014.