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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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New Carlisle Tesco? Bring it on say locals

Residents and local traders have generally welcomed the news that Tesco is planning to build a new £35 million supermarket in Morton.

Margery Watson photo
Margery Watson

The firm has been selected to develop land earmarked for a 90,000sq ft store, employing at least 300 people, on a 12-acre site backing onto Ellesmere Way.

It is understood that it could be open by autumn 2014 after Carlisle City Council granted outline planning consent for a supermarket at the site in 2010 before offering the land for sale.

Local butcher Jon Ogilvie, whose family has been based in Newlaithes Avenue for the past 26 years, agreed that it would bring more people into the area and was not worried about the competition. He said: “It will be brilliant for the residents.

“There is always competition when you are looking at quality. We use a local supplier and our prices are cheaper than supermarkets and our quality is well known.

“We have got loyal customers and we supply a lot of businesses as well. Our quality will be better. I am not worried at all. We’ve been here for 26 years and we’ve been through it all – we survived BSE and swine flu.”

Margery Watson, the manager of the neighbouring Fourways shop, agreed that it was good for residents and added: “It will be cheaper for them but it will affect our business.

“It’s not necessary and they don’t provide a good service. We try to provide a extra customer service.”

Rachael Greig, from Westwood, said she had been talking about the plan with her daughter and they were pleased at the prospect.

She said: “It will create jobs. For the main shop I’d be happy going up there and for little bits and bobs I would still use local shops.”

Elizabeth Lee, who has lived in the area since 1970, said her Ellesmere Way home would overlook the supermarket and was more dubious about the proposal.

She said: “I think Tesco is becoming too much in this country. Does it have to be Tesco? I am all for jobs but there isn’t anything else.”

Tesco had long been the front-runner to secure the right to develop the site and the deal will bring a windfall for the city council, which owns the site in Wigton Road – it will also see land in Viaduct Estate, where Tesco has permission for a supermarket, transfer to the council.

The council is likely to use the windfall to repay debts, build a swimming pool to replace James Street baths and, possibly, develop a theatre and arts centre.

Councillor John Bell, who represents the Morton ward, said it was good news.

He said: “I hope it brings more people into the area.”

Mr Bell said that a new housing estate was proposed for west Morton and added: “It’s at the right time – it’s been going on for years.”

Details of the scheme will go on show at Morton Community Centre on May 22 from midday until 7pm. Tesco will then submit a planning application with construction expected to begin early next year.

The store, which the company describes as an “eco-store” designed to minimise CO2 emissions, will be similar in size to the Sainsbury in Caldewgate, Carlisle.

There will be a cafe, petrol station and two retail units separate from the supermarket. The council’s outline plans suggested these might be a creche and a takeaway but other uses will be considered.

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