£10m superstore bid likely to be approved

A £10 million supermarket on the outskirts of Shrewsbury – creating up to 200 jobs – is on the verge of being approved after council planners gave their backing.

Shropshire Council officers have recommended the store off Hereford Road, Meole Brace, should be given the go-ahead when councillors vote on the plans next Thursday at Shirehall.

The original proposals caused controversy among residents, highways bosses and owners of the BP Garage opposite the site.

But the local authority has now come out in support of the 24,000sq ft supermarket, which is likely to be run by one of the big four of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrisons.

It maintains the impact on town centre trade is “not significant”.

The plans involve the demolition of a takeaway as well as the relocation of the EA Downes MoT garage to new premises on the same site.

If approved, the multi-million pound store and improved car workshop will create about 180 full and part-time jobs and include a 121-space car park, service area, cycle parking, trolley bays, staff parking and a junction off Hereford Road.

Developer Morbaine Ltd predicts it could also lead to another 50 indirect jobs created locally and said its overall effect would be “very positive”.

A report by council case officer Lynn Parker says: “The applicant acknowledges that the proposed store would draw trade from a wider area including the Waitrose and Marks & Spencer food hall in the town centre.

“However, it is not considered the proposed trade draw would be of a level to be considered ‘significant’ and would therefore not have a detrimental effect on the continued viability of these in-centre stores. The applicant argues that the largest trade draw would be on the Sainsbury’s store at Meole Brace Retail Park.”

It adds: “This is a site with regeneration potential which could secure a higher social and environmental standard, where the design and scale of the buildings proposed could help to improve the lives of the local community.

“The proposal for a foodstore and workshop on this site represents a positive response to an opportunity for growth within Shrewsbury.”

But Shrewsbury Town Council, which has objected to the plans, says it will create “unnecessary congestion” and are alarmed at the lack of pre-consultation.