BATTLE lines have been drawn as supermarket giants Sainsbury’s and Tesco compete to open new stores in Lynn.
With only one of the huge developments on the Hardwick Industrial Estate likely to be granted planning permission next week, the “store wars” have officially begun.
But, with both retailers promising to invest millions of pounds and create hundreds of jobs, Lynn looks set to be a winner whatever the outcome.
Tesco has today unveiled its £32million regeneration plans for the former Campbell’s factory, which could create more than 900 jobs.
The project, including a bigger and better replacement store, a hotel, car showroom, restaurants and business park, has attracted interest from several companies interested in setting-up shop.
National hospitality company Marston’s, which owns and operates 500 pubs, is interested in opening a pub-restaurant at the site and the project has also caught the attention of Listers BMW/Mini and the Downham Fryer, a fish and chip shop.
The application is in direct competition with rivals Sainsbury’s, which was first out of the blocks.
A spokesman said it was Tesco’s understanding only one of the massive developments would be given the go-ahead by West Norfolk Council planners at a special meeting next Wednesday.
Sainsbury’s has already outlined its £40 million-plus plans for a new superstore just down the road at the Pinguin Foods site, set to create more than 300 jobs.
The frozen vegetable firm is giving up 12 acres of its 44-acre site to accommodate the proposed store, just off the Hardwick roundabout.
Developers Mortson Assets and Sainsbury’s have planned a new link road between Scania Way and Queen Elizabeth Way to improve access, allowing the industrial estate to expand and attract new employers.
It has pledged £1.75 million for highways improvements and a further £7 million to invest in the Pinguin factory.
As well as spending £32 million at the derelict Campbells Meadow site – £1 million per acre – Tesco intends to splash the cash in other areas of the town with a £4 million package of improvements.
It plans to spend £1.6 million widening Hardwick Road, adding another entrance and building new cycle and pedestrian routes, and £678,500 on a travel plan, including a more regular bus service direct to the store.
Tesco is also pledging a £690,000 contribution towards a new Lynn bus station, a further £150,000 to spruce up the town centre and £50,000 towards a footbridge over the railway line next to the store.
If Tesco is granted planning permission, it is hoped work could start after the summer.
Nick Gellatly, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “We made a multi million pound investment by purchasing the Campbell’s site during the recession because of its potential.
“Our Hardwick Road store next door has been part of the community for more than 23 years and together, we are committed to restoring Campbell’s back to its glory as a hub for employment.
“Our Vision for Campbell’s report shows how we want to revitalise the site and make best use of its historic location. If granted permission, we’ll see hundreds of new jobs brought back into the area and attract investment from new businesses helping to boost the town’s economy.”
To view Tesco’s plans click on www.campbellsmeadow.co.uk