11:42am Wednesday 27th June 2012
By Matthew Taylor
PLANS for a major new retail park in Sandbach, that developers say will create 600 new jobs, have been unveiled.
The 20-acre site south of the town centre would incorporate a supermarket, garden centre, a Marstons pub, Premier Inn hotel, KFC drive through, Starbucks cafe, and start-up business premises.
Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all lodged interest in the scheme.
The £40 million retail site, incorporating designated lanes for a shuttle bus service, would be linked to the A534 Old Mill Road by a new roundabout with pelican crossings to access the town centre.
The Muller Property group proposal will be submitted to Cheshire East at the end of July, and could be completed by 2015 subject to planning permission.
Developer Colin Muller said a survey of 600 people in Sandbach, by market researcher NEMS in May, revealed £17 million worth of food shopping is done outside of the town.
“Sandbach is a town that is not holding trade. It is losing trade. Not just in food shopping but in comparison goods. This is a scheme we feel will benefit the town, and the results of the survey show there’s a pressing need to deliver this,” he said.
Muller Property will hold discussions with Cheshire East to contribute to traffic lights for M6 junction 17 and improvements to the A533 intersection with High Street.
Mr Muller said the scheme would improve traffic in the area by stopping outward journeys.
“Most shoppers are going to Crewe. They go through the town centre or go all the way out to junction 17 towards Congleton. By putting this site here were going to be stopping that, and reducing a significant number of shopping journeys outside of Sandbach,” he said.
Drivers would also benefit from a new supermarket petrol station on the site, he added.
“80 per cent of Sandbach people are buying their petrol outside the town. They’re travelling to junction 17, but there you’re paying motorway prices. This is going to bring budget petrol to the people of Sandbach.”
Labour councillor for Sandbach Heath and East Sam Corcoran said he was still keen to see the proposed Capricorn Business Park go ahead, and was worried about the scheme creating a ‘split town centre’.
“All jobs are welcome, but the bulk of this will be low salary jobs. I’m still very keen to push forward a science park off junction 17 that would be a high class facility providing well paid jobs. This proposal should in no way detract from that,” he said.
Mr Muller said he wanted to create a complimentary ‘marriage’ between town centre businesses and the new retail park, with town centre shoppers able to use the 800 new car parking spaces on site.
“We want this to be viewed as a benefit, not a hindrance. There won’t be any shops closing in Sandbach town centre as a result of what we’re doing here,” he said.
Mr Muller added: “A job is a job. What we’re proposing here provides about as broad a range of jobs as you can have – from service to management positions.”
A public consultation about the plans will be held at Sandbach Methodist Church on Wesley Avenue between 10am-4pm on Saturday, July 7, and 12-7pm on Tuesday, July 10.
“We are willing to listen to what people have got to say,” said Mr Muller.
“Sandbach is a town that needs this shopping provision and needs the 600 jobs. We can’t have a market town that withers and dies.”
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