BUSINESS leaders have welcomed a decision by the Co-op supermarket to create a food distribution depot on the edge of Ashfield which is set to employ around 900 people and provide yet another boost to the area’s economy.
The firm, which is the UK’s fifth largest food retailer, has announced plans to build a new £22m depot at the Castlewood Business Park in South Normanton which will serve all the Co-op food stores in the East Midlands.
It is estimated the huge investment will create around 130 brand new jobs for the area as well as secure hundreds more for existing employees.
News that the area is showing signs of recovery comes just weeks after it was announced that work had begun on Newstead and Annesley Country Park which aims to transform a former colliery spoil tip into a brand new eco-park.
Officials behind the £400,000 environmentally-friendly project hope the educational and leisure facility will attract 100,000 visitors by its fifth year and help stimulate growth for shops and businesses in the surrounding area.
It is also hoped that it will create new jobs and training opportunities.
And earlier this year, it was revealed that a proposal to create another country park at the former Bentinck tip site close to Annesley, Selston and Kirkby could also create around 100 jobs and there plans for a golf club, football pitches, adventure play ground, a conservation area and more in the pipeline.
Yesterday, from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce said: “
The new Co-op depot, which is close to Junction 28 of the M1, will replace two smaller facilities at Venture Way in Alfreton and one at Freeston Drive in Bulwell in Nottingham.
It is expected that the 492 people who are employed at Alfreton and the 280 at Bulwell will keep their jobs and transfer to the new site.
Plans have now been submitted to create the 480,000 sq ft facility and bosses at the company say they are close to completing the necessary legal agreements to secure the site.
Ian Smith, who is regional head of logistics at the Co-op, said: “The Castlewood site is ideal. It is close to the motorway network, and provides the scope we need to develop a major distribution centre.
“Crucially, it is also close enough to our existing depots in the area for staff to transfer, while at the same time it will lead to the creation of up to 130 new jobs.
“Once fully operational, this site will help us to continue to provide a first class service for our stores for many years to come.”
An application for planning permission has now been submitted and bosses at the Co-op say they are close to completing the necessary legal agreements to secure the site.
If planning permission is granted, they hope that the depot will become fully operational by next year.