Plans for a Morrisons store in Bolsover face collapse

Former Bolsover District Council Sherwood Lodge offices which are know owned by Morrisons.
Former Bolsover District Council Sherwood Lodge offices which are know owned by Morrisons.

Council chiefs fear plans for a superstore in Bolsover may have collapsed after Morrisons opted to sell the Sherwood Lodge site which had been earmarked for the development.

Bolsover District Council learned last week that Morrisons has put the site on Oxcroft Lane up for sale. The company had bought the former council offices from the authority in September.

The council, which moved to the Arc in Clowne, hoped the superstore development including a petrol station would have provided massive regeneration and created jobs.

A council spokesman said: “We’re disappointed Morrisons has put the site on the market without speaking to us or the community first. We weren’t informed by Morrisons. We don’t know the implications yet and we hope to talk to Morrisons as soon as possible.”

The council picked Morrisons as its preferred bidder to build a superstore after negotiations began in 2011 and planning permission was granted by the council in 2012.

Save Sherwood Green campaigners objected to the proposal in a bid to preserve green land and traders had raised concerns a superstore would squeeze out smaller firms.

The council was also criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for wrongly selling public land without correctly advertising its sale as open space.

The council had argued the development would keep shoppers and create jobs.

Bolsover District Council now wants to clarify whether Morrisons intends to sell the land to lease it back to still build a supermarket. It wants Morrisons to maintain the site and to discuss plans. Morrisons triggered concerns in January when it revealed plans to close ten stores due to a slump in profits.

Bolsover District Council had hoped a new supermarket in Bolsover would have supported other plans to regenerate a town that has suffered with unemployment and deprivation.

The council stressed it has attracted £1million from the European Regional Development Fund with Discover Bolsover partners to improve the cenotaph area, signage and pavements to host big events.

A council spokesman said: “The supermarket is not the be-all and end-all for regeneration because we’re still investing in the town. We want to clarify matters with Morrisons to move forward.”

The council added it still has plans for a contact centre and car parking is still allowed at Sherwood Lodge.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “We are in the process of reviewing our new store requirements and as part of this process we need to consider all available options.

“To help us undertake the review we have appointed property agents to fully explore all possibilities for the future of the Bolsover site.

“We appreciate that the community is keen to see the site progress but we have to conclude the review process before a decision can be made.”