A 150,000 sq ft Marks & Spencer department store will be built at Cheshire Oaks in Ellesmere Port after Communities Secretary John Denham ruled in favour of the scheme following an inquiry.
The controversial £60m store was opposed by the now-defunct councils of Chester City and Cheshire, who claimed it would drain retail spend from rival town and city centres.
Ironically, the leader of the new Cheshire West & Chester Council, this week welcomed the news – his patch now incorporates Ellesmere Port. Cllr Mike Jones said: "This is wonderful news for Ellesmere Port – and the whole region.
"Not only will it mean 350 new jobs for an area which desperately needs them but there could also be a considerable spin off for local firms servicing the new development."
The Secretary of State rejected claims the large store conflicted with 'town centre first' policy and said it was key to the ongoing regeneration of Ellesmere Port.
Graham Stock, partner at Drivers Jonas, advised Chester City Council. He said: "It is clear to me as a planning consultant involved in the project that the creation of the jobs and the green sustainability credentials of the store were factors that weighed very heavily in the mind of this government at the current time. Clearly in this case they weighed sufficiently heavily as to overcome concerns regarding difficulties as to running contrary to town centres first policy."