Employment boost in Ashfield as Co-op creates 340 new jobs

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CONSTRUCTION has begun on a £22 million project which will create 340 new jobs and could help bring yet more employment to a fledgling business park.

Clearing work started this week for the massive new Co-op distribution centre on the Castlewood business park, next to the East Midlands Designer Outlet.

The site off the A38 will be the supermarket’s main supply hub when complete next year.

The site off the A38 will be the supermarket’s main supply hub when complete next year.

Bosses plan to transfer 460 people employed at an existing Co-op distribution centre in Alfreton and around 280 at another depot in Bulwell to the new facility.

But they will need another 340 workers to run the 477,000 sq ft facility, with many expected to go to Ashfield and South Normanton residents.

Said The Co-operative Food’s head of logistics Mark Leonard: “The new distribution depot will provide a major boost to the local economy and employment.

“It will not only create a significant number of new jobs locally, but its proximity to our existing depots in the area will allow many staff to transfer to the new site, safeguarding around 740 jobs in the region.”

The mammoth centre will service 529 stores throughout the region, covering Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

It will be one of the biggest sites of its kind in the country and have the capacity to deliver around 68 million cases of groceries per year.

Bolsover District Councillor Joe Phelan said the project represents one of the biggest economic boosts to his South Normanton East ward in recent years.

“It’s excellent news for the entire area, particularly when you think about the current economic situation,” he said.

“Firstly the Co-op are securing jobs by proposing the transfer of current staff and they are creating positions as well.

“You sometimes wonder whether projects like this will come off, so its pleasing to see this happening.”

He added the completion of the scheme could encourage more firms to create more jobs by taking up residence on the site, which is owned by Brailsford-based property firm CWC Group.

“It’s definitely the biggest project in the area at the moment when it comes to creating jobs,” he added.

The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce has previously given the scheme a thumbs-up.

Jobs will move from the current site at Venture Way in Alfreton and one at Freeston Drive in Bulwell.

Added the Co-operative Group in a statement: “It is anticipated that the majority of the positions at the new site will be filled by existing Co-operative staff transferring, but the new depot is expected to create at least 340 new jobs locally.”

The Group added the current clearing work would be followed by foundations being laid to the huge facility.

The project is being managed by the Warwick-based specialist industrial development company, First Industrial.

The ‘state-of-the-art’ centre will also include several energy-saving and recycling initiatives, including harvesting rainwater to cut water demand and waste oil burning systems for heat production.

Said Fergie Taylor, head of project delivery at First Industrial: “We are delighted to be working with The Co-operative on this high profile project.

“The building is being delivered to best in class standards and when complete will offer major efficiencies.”