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New jobs set for Amesbury
MORE than 1,200 new jobs are set to be created in Amesbury after retailer Home Bargains selected the town as the hub for its ambitious expansion plans in the south of England.
The company wants to build a 700,000 sq ft warehouse and supporting buildings at Solstice Park.
Outline planning permission was granted for a huge regional distribution centre in 2009 but no company has yet invested in the site.
Now Home Bargains, a Liverpool-based, family owned business wants to build its second distribution centre in the Amesbury business park.
The company is opening 50 new stores a year and wants to grow from its current 290 shops to 700 nationwide.
“While we are very well known in the north of England we now want to move into the south and Solstice Park is crucial for that to happen,” operations director Joe Morris told Amesbury Town Council, last week.
“Our Liverpool regional distribution centre will reach capacity in 18 months time and we need a second for the business to grow.”
Home Bargains, which sells everything from household goods to toys, food, clothing, health products and seasonal items, wants to open southern stores from Cornwall to East Anglia, including several in Wiltshire.
Mr Morris said Amesbury would be an ideal location for its distribution hub.
“We’d be looking at employing 300 people there from day one as about 30 per cent of capacity would move from Liverpool to Amesbury from the start,” he said.
“Then, as more stores open, we’ll be creating more jobs, with up to 1,200 when we reach capacity.
“Obviously that will bring huge additional investment to Amesbury.”
In addition to the main warehouse, Solstice Park would also be home to the company’s southern management training centre, which 170 people a year would attend.
Initial plans for the regional distribution centre proved controversial with local residents forming a protest group No Amesbury Shed Henge (NASH), objecting to noise from the site, light pollution and large numbers of lorries using nearby roads.
The first planning application was turned down by Wiltshire councillors but revised plans were resubmitted and approved and the then secretary of state John Denham said there was no need for a public inquiry. Home Bargains says it will comply with sound proofing and traffic restrictions and install a long awaited pedestrian crossing on Stockport Road, as well as contributing to community projects.
A detailed planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks when a public consultation will get underway.
Mr Morris said the distribution centre would take between 12 and 18 months to build and he hoped work would begin as soon as possible.