First look at Asda

By Connie Osborne Thursday 12 December 2013 Updated: 12/12 16:08

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Buy photos » An artist impression of what Asda could look like if plans are approved. (s)

THIS is what the proposed new Asda store would look like if plans are approved by Redditch Borough Council next year.

About 400 jobs could be created by the 50,000 square foot store which would be an extension of the current B&Q site based at Jinnah Road in Smallwood.

Although the B&Q shop will become around 50 per cent smaller, a new garden centre as well as a complete refurbishment would take place.

The Asda store will include a clothing, CD, DVD, book and homeware section as well as using excess energy from the new bakery to heat its warehouse, among other eco-friendly features.

A planning application will be submitted in the new year, with a decision expected from the council by the middle of 2014.

If the application is granted, both the new Asda and revamped B&Q should be up and running by early 2015.

A public exhibition of the plans was held last Thursday and Friday (December 5 and 6) at Redditch Library, where residents could give feedback.

About 250 people visited over the two days, with more than 95 per cent expressing support for the proposal.

But privately concerns have been raised about the impact allowing a fourth major supermarket to base itself out of town would have on the town centre.

Residents have consistently called for the return of a supermarket to the town centre since Tesco left the Kingfisher and moved to Oakenshaw over 20 years ago, while national and local planning policies make clear town centres should be first choice for such developments.

Asda has been linked in the past with the Edward Street site near to the railway station, while land at Church Road behind the old Smallwood Hospital could be used for a supermarket.

But Doug Wilson, head of UK property communications for Asda, said they had chosen the Jinnah Road site because of its size.

“If you look at the other sites that were available to us, it was the one site that ticked all the boxes for us. This site came to us through B&Q and the restructuring and we were very interested,” he said.

“It is an existing retail unit so we are applying for a change of use with some extensions and alterations but the height will remain the same.”

He added it was important residents understood what the plans included and he would take on board people’s views to benefit Redditch in the long-term.

Coun Greg Chance, responsible for planning on Redditch Borough Council, said he welcomed and encouraged employers coming into the town and creating new jobs.

“But we do have to consider the planning application and what the effects will be on the town centre and the planning strategy.”

Visit www.asdaredditch.co.uk for more information about the plans.

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