New store promise for town’s jobless

An artist's impression of the new store
An artist's impression of the new store

ONE HUNDRED of the town’s unemployed will be offered jobs at a major new supermarket.

Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved proposals to build a Morrisons on a partly disused industrial estate just off Lottbridge Drove in Hampden Park on Tuesday (April 19).

Developers said part of the plans will see the supermarket employ 100 people from the town’s unemployment register who will form a third of Morrisons’ work force.

A spokesperson for developers Planning Potential said Morrisons hopes to open its doors to customers next year.

Committee member councillor Greg Szanto said, “I have always been impressed by Morrisons as an employer and its intention to employ those on the unemployment register.

“All in all this is going to be something extremely good for Eastbourne and I think it will be a tremendous addition.”

Despite overall support, committee members treated claims that the development will generate 300 new jobs with some caution, saying supermarket workers might simply switch from a competitor to Morrisons.

The application received just five letters of objection from local residents who raised concerns about increased traffic and claimed another supermarket could unbalance the town.

The town’s current supermarkets are currently ‘overtrading’ by £30 million a year, according to council figures.

This means Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose stores serve too many customers which can lead to longer queues and congested car parks.

It is thought the 3,473 square metre development – which will be the smallest supermarket in the town – will balance this out.

The redundant Anglo Dutch Meat site, Highfield Bodyshop, Eastbourne Car Auctions and other businesses in Arkwright Road will make way for the supermarket.

Developers said they would consider bids from East Sussex businesses for building contracts.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “I am particularly pleased that Morrisons have got in place a robust agreement with the local job centre to ensure we get new jobs for people in our town.

“In addition I negotiated an agreement with them to include local builders and construction sub-contractors.”